In the public debate over the Employee Free Choice Act, union leaders have recently favored this line of argument: “Opponents are LYING. They’re LYING. Liars!”
Now, Ron Gettelfinger of the United Auto Workers has added a different argument: “And they’re racists too!”
That’s the inescapable message from Gettelfinger’s Feb. 6 op-ed in the Detroit News, “Worker rights bill deserves debate, vote.”
The effort to stop social progress was led by Dixiecrats — Southern Democrats who stood for the privileged elite against the will of a majority of the American people. Today, their spiritual heirs have changed political parties, but they still reward the fortunate few who hold wealth and power and trample the needs of everyone else.
In December, a group of Republican senators used a filibuster to block legislation authorizing bridge loans for the U.S. auto industry, despite majority support from both houses of Congress. They were unwilling to give a penny to American companies and workers without imposing conditions that would effectively legislate our union out of existence.
A minority made up of many of the same senators is now threatening another filibuster — this time against an effort to expand workplace rights. They have signaled they will attempt to block the Employee Free Choice Act, which is supported by President Barack Obama and majorities in the House and Senate.
Ah, we see. Today’s opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act are the moral equivalent of the Senators who opposed the Civil Rights Act.
We doubt that Gettelfinger wants an open discussion of business versus labor’s historical record on civil rights (Davis Bacon lives on, after all). No, what this appalling op-ed is about is playing the race card, attempting to silence critics by casting them as bigots.
But then, the Employee Free Choice Act is an attempt to silence employees who might oppose the unionization of a business. Intimidation is the consistent tactic in both cases.
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