As a native Rochestarian, and proud University at Buffalo alum, I was a bit surprised to see one of the Democrats campaigning for the local Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Reynolds being rejected by the AFL-CIO , especially given the candidate’s otherwise pro-labor positions. A tough primary battle is under way in Western New York between Jack Davis (who lost to Reynolds in 2006) and John Powers. Despite exports ‘ role in keeping our economy afloat Davis has toed labor’s line that trade agreements harm workers and made trade a cornerstone of his campaign. Organized labor traditionally rewards those who stick with them on such a priority issue.
Not this time. The local union bosses weren’t ashamed to demonstrate that there’s only ONE priority this year, and it’s taking away secret ballots in the workplace . As reported by the Buffalo News, Angelo Vellake, president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation of the AFL-CIO said “[Davis] opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, and that’s a litmus test.”
I find it interesting that the Powers campaign actually said: “Voters want a serious leader who will work with others in Congress to protect the American worker”. I wonder how voters will feel when they realize that Powers actually supports taking away the right of American workers to secret ballot elections when determining whether they want to have a labor union represent them.
To get a better idea of what’s at stake here, please look to this Fox News clip (available here) from last night that highlights the “card check” issue a bit better. It features former Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern telling his political friends that it’s wrong to destroy the secret ballot and argues “that union elections should be just like presidential and congressional elections by secret ballot.”