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Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Really Killed the Unions' Job-Destroying Employee Free Choice Act?

"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo

If the misleadingly-named Employee Free Choice Act is truly dead, Democrats and union bosses have no one to blame but themselves.

By most accounts, union bosses' main legislative goal for the last five years, the hallucinogenically named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is all-but-dead.  Ever since it passed the House in 2007 (EFCA was re-introduced in both the House and Senate on March 10, 2009), the big labor bailout bill has drawn fire from business groups, but had gone little noticed by the public-at-large.
  • For an explanation of EFCA, go here.
While the official death certificate to the job-destroying EFCA has not yet been issued, Politico posted a piece on Tuesday entitled Labor helps kill its own top priority citing last week's election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts as the reason.  The problem is, while it is true that a majority of union houesholds in Massachusetts voted for Scott Brown, EFCA was pretty much DOA before last week.

Big Government, Auto Bailouts, Stimulus Spending, and Health Care Reform, not Scott Brown, doomed EFCA.

While Politico writer Jeanne Cummings correctly notes that the election of Scott Brown makes out-and-out passage of EFCA virtually impossible while Republicans can muster a filibuster, EFCA started to die back in January, shortly after Barack Obama's inauguration and has been dying ever since.

It was shortly after Obama's election that General Motors and Chrysler came to Washington with their hands out for bailout money.  The public, already annoyed with the shelling out of hundreds of billions to Wall Street raised a collectively dubious eyebrow at Obama's acquiesence to Detroit and the United Auto Workers, with many in the blogosphere correctly pointing out the UAW's complicitness in Detroit's demise.

As the administration forced the automakers into bankruptcy, Americans grew even more suspicious when President Obama appointed Ron Bloom to be the "car czar" [Bloom is now Obama's "manufactuing czar"] and the United Auto Workers wound up receiving ownership in both General Motors and Chrysler.

The auto bailouts, combined with the almost-simultaneous passage of more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars hundreds of billions aimed at stimulating the economy created a backlash as the public began to see a huge increase in the role of government, a debt that would be borne by future generations, all the while millions continued to lose jobs.

As the first "tea parties" began to shape up in April, the public pushback against big government began to grow.  Meanwhile, with the election of Democrat Al Franken in limbo throughout the much of the spring and Ted Kennedy falling ill through the summer, EFCA remained stalled.

Then, Democrats and their union allies made a huge strategic error by choosing to put health care reform ahead of EFCA.  This, not the election of Scott Brown, became EFCA's undoing.

The Light Gets Shined on Union Bosses' New-Found Favor in the White House...


As President Obama continued filling his administration with cronies from the union movement, more and more light was being shed on the favor union bosses were receiving in Washington.  To many Americans, it became apparent that Democrats and union bosses were not just after health care reform, they were after an out-and-out nationalization of the entire health care system. This is when Democrats and union bosses unwittingly awoke the proverbial sleeping giant. 

The push for a complete federal government takeover health care in the House of Representatives was too much for a growingly suspicious public and, as a result, politicians began to get blasted in town hall meetings in late July and early August.

Prior to the health care debate, most of the public remained in the dark about the extent to which unions were now in control in Washington.  And, for the most part, EFCA remained a labor vs. management issue.  However, as town halls erupted into open shouting matches, the White House told Democrats and their allies to "punch back twice as hard."  Unions, however, took the directive too far.  

On August 6th, a black conservative named Kenneth Gladney was allegedly beaten by SEIU thugs at a town hall meeting in St. Louis.  Gladney's beating created a firestorm of outrage throughout the internet and put Democrats on the defensive.  The public was now becoming increasingly aware of the union infuence in the health care debate and it led, in at least one case, for union attendees to be booed out of one town hall meeting.

By Labor Day, public opinion had turned against the Democrats' handling of health care, the run-away spending in Washington and, most importantly to the union bosses, public opinion had also turned against them.  On Labor Day weekend, Gallup released its annual poll on public support of unions and found that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans disapproved of labor unions.

Backroom "Sweetheart" Deals, ACORN, and an Overly Influential White House Visitor

Less than a week after the Labor Day Gallup poll numbers, shockwaves were again sent throughout the internet when Barack Obama's former employer/client, ACORN, was exposed through some well-publicized undercover videos as allegedly having 'counseled' a "pimp" and a "prostitute" to skirt tax laws...not just once, but on several occasions and at several of its offices.

Given President Obama's well noted ties to the arguably-corrupt ACORN, as well as its sister companion (the SEIU), unions took another PR hit in October when the White House revealed that SEIU boss Andy Stern was the White House's most frequent visitor during the first six months of the new administration. 

Further, complicating the White House's exposed ties with the SEIU was the growing awareness of just how much the SEIU controlled the White House, even planting one of its high ranking officials, Patrick Gaspard, into the White House as the Director of Political Affairs.

Finally, the last bit of evidence many Americans needed to be convinced that union bosses were only out for themselves occurred in early January when union bosses had a closed-door meeting at the White House regarding the so-called "Cadillac tax" in the Senate's health care bill.  When union bosses emerged (a mere week before Scott Brown's election) with an exemption to the Cadillac tax in hand, many more Americans grew infuriated. 

Poor Priorities and the Scott Heard Around the World...

As Politico writer Cummings points out, a majority of union households in Massachuesetts did vote for Scott Brown.  This has effectively sealed EFCA's fate for 2010, as Democrats have become largely paralyzed with fear over the possible losses they face in November.

Now, after spending an estimated $1.5 billion in 2006 and 2008 to elect Democrats who would be beholden to their interests, union bosses are left to hoping consolation prize Craig Becker is successfully seated on the National Labor Relations Board.


If SEIU and AFL-CIO attorney Becker does make it to the NLRB, union bosses will still be able to flip labor relations in America on its head, but not nearly as far as they wanted to go with EFCA.  With Becker, unions will still see a higher win-rate in NLRB-conducted elections (their win rate was 73% in the first six months of 2009) and employers will likely see their rights to free speech eroded further.  However, with  EFCA's no-vote unionization and government-imposition of contracts, the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act would have permanently changed the American labor relations landscape, as well created higher unemployment.  

Union bosses, not corporate bosses killed EFCA...

While it is true that corporations and business associations have lobbied extensively against EFCA, the public-at-large had been largely ignoring the back-and-forth between labor and management.  Both business and union bosses have spent tons of money attempting to present their case for or against EFCA.  As the Democrats have had a filibuster proof Senate (albeit for a short time), were it not for some leery Democrats in the Senate, EFCA would have passed. 

However, because union bosses have made an issue out of themselves, mainly through the auto bailouts and, more importantly, the health care debate, the public has become highly suspicious of their agenda.

And, for this, union bosses have no one to blame but themselves.
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"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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