Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arlen Specter Finally Gets Something Right

Great news in the battle to stop organized labor's agenda to force itself on enterprises, big and small, across America.

Decision Is a Blow to 'Card Check'

By Alec MacGillis - Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 25, 2009; A06

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the only Republican senator who did not actively oppose the Employee Free Choice Act in the previous Congress, said yesterday that he will vote to block it this year, dealing a blow to the pro-labor legislation.

Supporters of the bill need 60 votes in the Senate to stave off a filibuster. They were hoping to reach that by winning all 59 Democrats and independents (assuming Al Franken is seated from Minnesota before a vote occurs) and hanging onto Specter, a moderate from a state with a strong union presence.

But Specter is facing a primary challenge from the right, most likely a rematch against former congressman Pat Toomey, and a vote for the Employee Free Choice Act, dubbed "card check," would only add to Republican ire against him. Recognizing this, the AFL-CIO raised the possibility of urging its members to back Specter in the general election if he supported the bill.

In his statement yesterday, Specter said he had always had reservations about the bill, which would make it possible for workers to form a union if a majority sign pro-union cards, without a secret-ballot election; stiffen penalties for employer violations; and require mandatory arbitration if a union and an employer can't reach a contract in 120 days. While he agreed with unions that the current system is broken, he said he prefers more limited reforms, particularly during a recession.

Only if more limited reforms prove ineffective, he said, "then I would be willing to reconsider [card check] when the economy returns to normalcy."

The announcement dismayed labor supporters, but they vowed to press on for 60 votes. Specter's statement is "a disappointment and a rebuke to working people," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "We do not plan to let a hardball campaign from Big Business derail the Employee Free Choice Act or the dreams of workers."

Business groups were triumphant. "No other Republican senator has given any indication he would be willing to vote [against a filibuster], and you need 60 votes," said Keith Smith of the National Association of Manufacturers. "This is a key development."

An example of how just the spectre (if you will) of this legislation is already having mal effects on the economy :

FedEx may delay plane buys if union bill passes
The package delivery company revealed it might delay purchasing 30 new Boeing 777 cargo planes if Congress reclassifies the company under a different labor act, which FedEx argues would make it easier for its employees to unionize...

Commissioning the 30 planes - at a price tag of $225 million each - is expected to create thousands of jobs for Boeing employees, workers at General Electric Co. who make the jet engines and workers at hundreds of subcontractor companies.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that Senator Specter will not vote for the pro-union bill.

The labor picture has been unbalanced, which is one reason that the middle class has done so poorly in recent decades re wages being near stagnant while the upper couple of percent make out like bandits.

Labor deserves to be rewarded for the productivity gains achieved. They have not!

There has to be a balance. There has to be a negotiation unit representing labor that has some power.

The lack of a secret ballot in the bill is a red herring, as it is untrue. Any person handed a card can opt to make it a secret ballot by mailing it in instead of handing it back with a check mark of approval or disapproval.

I would like to know, Tyler, what is your solution to the stagnant wage problem?

Perry Hood

Tyler Nixon said...

Your premise that unions are not just as responsible for stagnant wages as anything else is simply false.

They are a drag on overall productivity and cause higher prices to consumers, stagnating the rest of the free market economy under their overpaid strain.

You need to re-examine your premises, Perry. Look at the most unionized companies and you will see lumbering wheezing dinosaurs with leaches all over the corpus. See GM, Chrysler.

Tyler Nixon said...

For example, I use FedEx. I don't want to pay higher prices so some organized labor fatasses can collect more dues and push their weight around to justify their existence.

But if FedEx is hijacked by these forces, bet your ass we all will pay the price.

Yet, I have never heard anyone complain about working at FedEx and I know several who have, past and present.

A secret ballot is a secret ballot, Perry, not some mail-in or on-the-spot card. Get real.

Anonymous said...

OK Tyler, I hear you.

Then how do we resolve the wage disparity? We can't go on like this, with the wealthy getting wealthier while the hard working middle get poorer. One would hope for an enlightened business approach for sharing the successes; in general, that is not the case.

I don't agree with you about the secret ballot issue, btw, but I pass on that for now.

On GM and Chrysler, the unions have given up quite a bit recently. Until very recently, GM and Chrysler have not put a competitive and quality vehicle out there, so the companies themselves bear much of the blame over the years for their demise.

Perry Hood

Anonymous said...

Another example of an elected official voting for reelection. Period.