From the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page (subscription required)
The way the vote was managed says a lot about how little Democrats really wanted to debate this “card check” legislation in public. Unions claim that it’s only fair to let a union organize a work place once 50% of employees have signed a union card. But this very public process leaves workers open to union and peer intimidation, which is why U.S. labor law has allowed secret ballots for a half century. Leaving workers to fend for themselves against the gentle persuasion of, say, the Teamsters isn’t a big political winner.
So it’s not surprising that Democrats staged their losing vote the same day as a key immigration vote that was certain to get far more public attention. Democrats also did little PR work, and the vote itself had a ritual quality to it, like some of those Republican votes on cultural issues when Tom DeLay was House Majority Leader: Hold a largely symbolic vote, check off a box to pay off your election supporters, and move on to something that most Americans might even care about.
Interestingly enough, left-wing bludgeoner David Sirota agrees with the analysis, suggesting the Senate leadership was more or less paying lip service to the bill. He asks:
Does it have something to do with Democrats wanting to set up a situation that allows them to claim they care about workers and labor rights, while making sure that those labor rights continue to get trampled?
Not for us to say. But interesting speculation. And may the factionalism grow.
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