At The Plum Line, Greg Sargent takes a look at Dianne Feinstein's lack of support for the Employee Free Choice Act. She remains the only Congressional Democrat from California not to co-sponsor the bill, and according to her spokesman, she's looking for the mythical bipartisanship pony.
"I have thought for some time that the way to approach this issue is by trying to see if there can't be a compromise between the business community, the agriculture community and labor. This is an extraordinarily difficult economy and feelings are very strong on both sides of the issue. I would hope there is some way to find common ground that would be agreeable to both business and labor."
This is complete nonsense. Employers are firing workers who try to organize. They intimidate workers into voting against their better interests. One out of every four unions elections were marred by illegal firings in 2007. I don't know how you can possibly reconcile the two sides given that scenario.
Furthermore, the invocation of the "difficult economy" is another red herring. Sen. Tom Harkin has already done away with this nonsense by pulling out his history book.
The bill's supporters are pointing to the downturn as the ultimate proof of their arguments that labor's decline has helped put the economy out of balance and that only by restoring workers' purchasing power can the nation return to broadly shared prosperity.
"In 1935, we passed the Wagner Act that promoted unionization and allowed unions to flourish, and at the time we were at around 20 percent unemployment. So tell me again why we can't do this in a recession?" said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), invoking the pro-labor changes of the New Deal. "This is the time to do it. This is exactly the time we should be insisting on a fairer playing field for people to organize themselves."
Because of Sen. Specter's announced opposition, the Employee Free Choice Act faces an uphill battle. But at the very least, Californians should expect that all of their representatives in Washington would understand the need to strengthen unions as a means to strengthening the overall middle class, increasing wages and BOOSTING, not hurting the economy. Feinstein has a choice to make, and you can sign this letter from the Courage Campaign to let her know you're watching her.