Monday, January 05, 2009
By Trapper John
At the banquet table of nature there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can't take anything, you won't get anything; and if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. And you can't take anything without organization.At this point, even the most casual reader of Daily Kos has probably heard of the Employee Free Choice Act. Labor unions are pushing Congress to move on it quickly, big business and its astroturf front rackets are spending untold millions to kill it, and in general, the atmosphere surrounding the bill is more akin to that of a nasty political campaign than a policy debate. But why do labor organizers care so deeply about Employee Free Choice? Why are astroturf groups funded by some of the worst employers in America popping up everywhere purporting to be deeply concerned about the rights of employees? Why is the Chamber of Commerce spending $20-30 million to poison the minds of Americans against the bill?
-A. Philip Randolph, Founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, civil rights leader, and all-around American hero.
Why? Because the Employee Free Choice Act is, quite simply, not only the most necessary and important labor law reform in 75 years -- it's the cornerstone of any serious effort to reestablish a real middle-class in the United States. And Wal-Mart, and Grover Norquist, and the Chamber of Commerce, and the institutional Republican Party don't want a real, secure middle class. They want a docile, subservient class of workers who are utterly dependent on the tender mercies of their employers for every meal. They realize far better than many progressives that organization in the workplace -- unionization -- is the single greatest tool that workers have to ensure that they get a piece of the pie. They know that they have to do whatever it takes to prevent working Americans from joining together to "get what they can take, and keep what they can hold." And so, they will do whatever they have to do to try and kill the Employee Free Choice Act.
We can't let that happen. We have a golden opportunity to pass the Act in this Congress -- what with a Democratic president, 58 Democrats in the Senate plus Lieberman (who is a reliable vote on this issue), and a solid House majority. There hasn't been an opportunity for real labor law reform like this in 40 years. This is not a time for incremental change -- not when we have the chance to reorder the economic rules of the nation so that everyday Americans have a chance to claim what's theirs....(Click for remainder).