The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Want a union?
Don’t wait on the Democrats

Jul 20, 2009

The Democrats, claiming to be more “labor friendly” than the Republicans, long held out the promise that if working people put them in office, they would make it easier for workers to organize unions. In 2007, after the Democrats won a majority in both Houses of Congress, every single Democrat voted in favor of “card check.” But they said they couldn’t get it passed because they didn’t have enough votes to break a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Passing “card check” became one of the Democrats’ campaign planks in the 2008 election. In April 2008 Obama, who had been a co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate, had promised, “I will make it the law of the land when I’m President of the United States.”

That promise soon went the way of so many others once Obama was elected and the Democrats won a 60 seat majority in the Senate that made it “filibuster proof.” In January, a few days before taking office, Obama already began to waffle on card check, in order to placate big business. Then in early May, Tom Harkin, the chief sponsor of the bill, said he couldn’t get all the Democrats to sign on to the bill. In July, the Democrats dropped it.

No one bothered to explain why all these same Democrats, who had voted for card check in 2007, when the Republicans were still in a position to block it, were now voting against it, when the Democrats had enough votes to pass it on their own.