Card Check: Business Proved United, But Can It Stay So?

By March 27, 2009Economy, Labor Unions

The Wall Street Journal’s columnist Kim Strassel, who is right about things 98 percent of the time, credits Senator Specter’s change of heart on Employee Free Choice Act to business’ united opposition to the labor-backed measure. But even with Senator Specter saying he’ll vote against cloture, the issue remains alive and a continued threat in the form of a union-supported “compromise,” Strassel argues in “Business Beats Card Check—For Now“:

“Talk of a compromise at this stage is like giving away runs in the ninth inning,” says Rhonda Bentz of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

In recent years, standard operating procedure has been for the business world to split apart in pursuit of self-interest or to get cold feet. Card check has so far been an exception, but the pressure will only increase. Left-leaning labor lawyers and lobbyists keep whispering in their corporate clients’ ears that card check will indeed pass, and that they’d better cut a deal while they can. Senate Democrats are testing the waters with their home-state business communities, looking to horse trade other goodies in return for card-check indulgence.

These tactics have worked in the past. But the lesson of card check so far is that, united, the business world still wields extraordinary clout. So extraordinary that it has managed to bottle up Big Labor’s top priority in a town now run exclusively by labor’s Democratic patrons. Business’s continued unity, or lack of it, will decide what happens next.

That’s right. Senator Specter’s announcement was a notable development, but organized labor certainly isn’t abandoning its misguided cause to hamstring the U.S. economy. The latest from the AFL-CIO, “Working Families Ramp Up Grassroots Events in Support of Employee Free Choice Act

Nationwide – March 26 – Across the country, working people are ramping up their grassroots efforts to show the importance of passing the Employee Free Choice Act for a balanced economic recovery. Over the next few weeks, thousands of workers will participate in dozens of rallies, letter writing parties, roundtables, and other events to show their outrage against our corporate-dominated economy and the broad public support for the Employee Free Choice Act.

This statement has the appearance of the AFL-CIO telling its members, discouraged over this week’s development, to take heart and stay the course.

Fair enough. And so will business.

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