Employee Free Choice Act: George? Is anyone home? | Street Jazz

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act: George? Is anyone home?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

November, 1972: I - along with about 400 other people in the country - voted for Democratic candidate George McGovern for president. It was a pretty easy choice. McGovern versus the Anti-Christ of American politics, Richard Nixon.

Sadly, a lot of other voters didn’t feel the same way I did. Nevertheless, I was proud to vote for McGovern, and have been proud to this very day. Until recently, that is.

A lot of conservatives adore McGovern at the moment, even the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which voted to award him the the “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award.”

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/02/18/mcgovern-cpac/

Sadly, he has announced that due to other commitments, he will unable to attend their gathering in person to accept the award.

Why the adoration on the part of the Right? Well, of late McGovern has been the tool of those who are terrified of the Employee Free Choice Act. In a series of Op Eds and TV commercials, he has been attacking the Employee Free Choice Act, helping to spread the canard that the act will ban “secret ballots.”

As Rick Perlstein wrote in October of last year, in “George McGovern Continues to Sell Out Labor”:

 . . . Govern's claim - that the Employee Free Choice Act takes away "secret ballots" for union elections - is not true. The Employee Free Choice Act gives workers the choice to form a union, taking away businesses' veto power on the matter. Basically, once 50% +1 of workers in a workplace say they want a union, they get their union if the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law. But today, even if 100% of workers want a union, the employer can veto it. Rick Perlstein explains the situation well, via economist Dean Baker:

"The only change with the Employee Free Choice Act is whether card check recognition is at the discretion of the employer of the worker. In other words, it changes absolutely ZERO about whether the right of workers to organize is determined by secret ballot or not. The only thing it changes is who gets to decide the manner of certification, workers or employers."

Why is it a good thing if it's easier for workers to form unions? Take a look around. Do you think it's any surprise that the worst economic crisis in decades comes when the fewest workers are organized in unions?

When workers are able to form or join a union, workplaces across the country are more fair, giving people the chance to earn better wages and benefits - and protecting against excesses like we're seeing in corporate America today.

Look at what kind of a difference unions make:

* Union members earn 30% more than non-union workers.

* Workers in unions are 59% more likely be covered by employer-provided health insurance.

* A large union presence in an industry or region can raise wages even for non-union workers.

* Patients suffering heart attacks have a 5.5% greater chance of survival if their nurses are union members . . .

I put the above paragraphs in bold about the truth concerning the Employee Free Choice Act because it just can’t be said too many times.  One can say that McGovern is out of touch, but we are also all aware, I think, that his relations with organized labor in 1972 were not all that firm.

Even so, for one of the lights of the Democratic party, one of the reasons that so may became active in the politics in the first place, to virtually betray the people who have long respected him, is more than a a little hard to swallow. Damn it, he gave us reasons to believe that it didn’t have to be business as usual.

And here is now, telling us that business as usual isn’t such a bad thing, after all.

The best comment I found online was posted by “Hugh,” who wrote:

I have to agree with George McGovern. What have unions ever given workers in this country besides higher wages, better working conditions, healthcare, and in the past job protection and pensions? It about time that workers were freed from these pernicious influences. Go, George, go. The 19th century probably looks good when you are in your dotage.

Oh, George . . .

******
Quote of the Day

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. - Abraham Lincoln


*****

On the Air with Dylan Ferrell

Dylan Ferrell, host of the popular political/social commentary C.A.T. program “WTF,” will be my guest next week on “On the Air with Richard S. Drake.”

Ferrell will give his views on such subjects as global warming, gay foster parenting, Sarah Palin, and those he sees as the best and worst Arkansas legislators - among many other topics of interest.

The program also includes excerpts from “WTF,” which has a large viewership.

Show days and times

Monday - Feb. 23 (7pm)
Tuesday - Feb. 24 (noon)
Saturday - Feb. 28 (6pm)

C.A.T. is shown on Channel 18 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville.  

Those outside the Fayetteville viewing area can see the program online at: www.catfayetteville.org/

Programs online are shown in “real time,” meaning that they are shown at the same time as they are shown on C.A.T.

****

The First Fayetteville Goddess Festival: Goddesses, Angels, and Amazons

The Festival  will begin on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 5:00pm with an exciting Artist and
Art Show Reception, where the  artwork of numerous artists, all reflecting powerful female images can be seen.

Like the Festival itself, the artworks show a true range of diversity  in style and expression. Goddess, Angel, or Amazon, their common thread is their personal interpretation and portrayal of the 'Divine Feminine'.

Refreshments will be served.

The art gallery showing is free and open to the public and will hang during the entire month of March.

The month long Festival includes many special events, concerts and workshops, and is being held in
Ultra Studios, 118 W. South Street (corner Archibald Yell Blvd).

All are invited to stay after the reception for the Opening Ritual beginning at 7:00pm where you can join in a celebration of the spirit, energy, and magic that brought forth the First Fayetteville Goddess Festival: Goddesses, Angels, and Amazons.

Meet the Producers (Diana Rivers and Vickie Kelley) and the women who comprise the Producers' Circle,  and representatives of OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology, who are the sponsors of the Festival.

The Opening Ritual, with focus on 3 words: invocation, dedication, and celebration, will include a staged  reading of "Sisters Let Us Remember" and "Time to Bring the Goddess Home Again".

rsdrake@nwark.com


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