Card Check: Vice President Biden’s AFL-CIO Pas de Deux

By March 5, 2009General

A 43-minute address, a welcome if modest bit of transparency, “Text released by office of Vice President Joe Biden. Speech delivered this morning to the AFL-CIO Executive Council at their annual conference, in Miami Beach, Fla.”

And old joke, Mr. President, you know, you go home with them that brung you to the dance. Well, you all brought me to the dance a long time ago. And it’s time we start dancing, man. It’s time we start dancing. (Applause.)

That’s certainly frank enough.

Surprisingly brief comments about the Employee Free Chocie Act. In fact, just a single paragraph. The AFL-CIO leaders must be disappointed:

I mentioned the productivity increased by almost 20 percent from 2000 to 2007, but wages fell by $2,000. If our basic bargain had been intact, if paychecks rose with productivity growth, as they did from World War II to the early ’70s, families would have gained $10,000 over that period, instead of losing $2,000. (Applause.)

So, folks, that’s why there’s no one thing we have to do. This is all going to be difficult, and one of the most difficult things will be to reinstitute that basic bargain. And I think the way to do that is the Employee Free Choice Act. (Applause.)
Folks, let’s get it straight — we’re not asking — we’re not asking for anything we don’t deserve. And we’re not asking for anything that wasn’t intended when the NLRB said we should be encouraging — encouraging — unions. We just want to level this playing field again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think President Obama said it best when he said — I’m quoting — “I don’t buy the argument that providing workers with collective bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment.” If you’ve got workers who have a decent pay and benefits, they also are customers for your business. (Applause.)

On the other hand, the Vice President makes no effort to acknowledge the point of view of employers on anything, so perhaps that will satisfy the AFL-CIO.

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