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From the diaries, by Erick.
Much to the pleasure of the organized labor movement, Sen. Tom Harkin, as the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, stands to offer a tremendous amount of help to Big Labor. By pledging to pass a misleadingly-named and detrimental bill called the Employee Free Choice Act, Sen. Harkin is revealing his true loyalties – and his inconsistent rhetoric.
With union pension plans grossly underfunded, EFCA presents a number of threats to workers and businesses, and a number of benefits for union bosses. In their quest for more political spending power, union bosses have been feverishly pushing for the swift passage of EFCA and the question arises as to what Sen. Harkin has been saying about the bill. The answer is quite egregious.
In July of this year the Senator assured the public that Democrats were “not doing anything” about EFCA due to other priorities on the docket such as healthcare. But on September 9, he told a group of pro-union activists that in July he had the 60 votes needed for EFCA to pass, and then proceeded to audaciously blame the lack of a vote on the recently late Senator Edward Kennedy. On October 22, Harkin admitted to a news source that Democrats are “very close to having an agreement” on the bill, though he didn’t go into details.
So which is it Senator? Were you “working out an agreement” or were you “not doing anything”? With many Democrats beginning to distance themselves from this bill, Sen. Harkin is sending conflicting messages to various groups in an effort to appease all of them. That tactic will not stand.
If you’re wondering why this specific bill is of such concern, take a look at the recent unemployment rates around the country. America is at a 26-year-high unemployment rate and Senators like Harkin are making progress in getting support for EFCA – a bill that will increase that rate by 600,000 jobs in the first year it is enacted.
The bill is also a plea by labor bosses to help them with their mismanaged pension plans. Unions right now are being criticized for their lack of funding for their members pension plans, while their officers’ plans are faring quite well. EFCA would bring in more money through union dues to help alleviate the strain on the mismanaged pension plans as well as feeding the multi-million dollar political spending machine created by powerful unions.
So would EFCA actually lead to very many new union members? Undoubtedly – but they would not likely come willingly. The card-check aspect of the bill would prevent workers from having a secret ballot, and would therefore open them up to intimidation from union thugs. Remember the videos of those SEIU guys we saw make a scene at some recent town hall meetings in August? That could be happening at the front doors of workers’ homes all around the country if EFCA passes. Unions would be pushing for these workers to publicly sign cards indicating their support for unionization. Furthermore, businesses could be met by a government arbitrator with little or no knowledge about the business and who would determine wages and benefits for the union employees in a contract that would be binding for two years. Employees would lose any bargaining power and employers would suddenly be bearing the burden of wages and benefits that could potentially bankrupt them.
America has a lot of needs right now and Sen. Harkin is right that there are several priorities facing Congress. But shouldn’t helping the economy be at the top of that list instead of pushing a special interest bill that will kill jobs?
It’s time to be honest and face the music – EFCA is bad for our nation and dishonest politicians are even worse.