WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 16, 2009 -
As we pointed out yesterday, there’s plenty of opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. So who has been pressuring lawmakers to keep it alive in Congress?
Mostly, the heads of some of the nation’s largest labor unions. They have a lot riding on EFCA, especially their future as a major force in Washington. Bloomberg News columnist Albert R. Hunt laid it all out recently in The New York Times here:
“If labor fails on the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, it would be a huge blow and it would likely produce internal and political recriminations. …
“Some analysts wonder whether labor can be effective on both legislative and political matters when it is divided. Four years ago, seven unions, including the Service Employees, the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers, broke from the AFL-CIO, which they said wasn’t aggressive enough in organizing and on other matters. They formed the ‘Change to Win’ coalition.
“There are moves to get these factions back together so labor can present a more united front. A former Michigan congressman, David Bonior, has been tapped to try to reconcile some issues. It’s a tough task.
“Originally, it was thought unity might occur after the current AFL-CIO president, John Sweeney, stepped down. Mr. Sweeney and Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees, are enemies. The federation, however, has tapped Mr. Trumka, former head of the mine workers, to succeed Mr. Sweeney this month; his relations with Mr. Hoffa and some other Change to Win leaders are also said to be bad.”
Hunt, “Infighting Is Blunting Labor’s Clout,” The New York Times, 09.06.09
The turf wars of unions are their business. But EFCA’s impact on an already weakened economy makes their business everybody’s concern. That’s why EFCA opposition has been both broad and bipartisan – and why its supporters in Congress should drop it once and for all.
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