Mickey Kaus, the reform-minded blogger now at The Daily Caller, takes note of the comments of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) conceding the legislative death of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). According to a report in The Hill, Brown told WVIZ radio, “It’s not going to happen now.”
To which Kaus responds with cynicism disguised by yuck yuck. From “Why K Street Hates Sherrod Brown”:
Brown may have just sent K Street into recession, if that’s possible. Big Business and Small Business, terrified of the “card check” bill–including its mandatory government arbitration provisions–spent heavily on lobbyists to fight it. How many former Senate staffers have fed their children for the past three years off of the “card check” menace? Businesses are unlikely to keep the fees flowing if the threat has disappeared. They should take up a collection to bring [Atlantic reporter Mark] Ambinder back from National Journal. Or to pay Sherrod Brown to be quiet. … You’d think by now Brown would know proper D.C. etiquette, which is to pretend “card check” still might, just might, pass, maybe in some “compromise” form. That way Democrats are happy–they’ve led labor on for another cycle–and K Street is happy. Keep hope alive! It’s good for the juice.) …
You bet, the Employee Free Choice Act was a good issue to energize the troops and raise funds for ad campaigns and lobbying. Small, family-owned businesses especially hate the idea of an undemocratic process — card check — being used to turn their operations over to labor unions. Other companies recognized in the Employee Free Choice labor’s strategy for undermining the competitive advantages of locating in right-to-work states. The binding arbitration provisions were indeed anathema to employers: A federal appointee would impose contracts on them!
Of course, labor would not have put so many millions into the bill if they did not see it as necessary to revive private-sector unionization.
Still, all the calls to action and appeals for money to oppose EFCA would have fallen flat if the bill had not been a real threat to become law. H.R. 800 passed the House in 2007 by a vote of 241-185, and 51 Senators voted for cloture. That was before President Obama, an ardent supporter, won election in 2008. Of course, business groups geared up to fight the bill. They could no longer rely on President Bush to veto the bill.
And now the Employee Free Choice Act is dead, at least legislatively. No one has even bothered to introduce a bill this session.
But at the risk of being accused of ginning up a threat, we assert that labor is still actively working to achieve the fundamental goal of the legislation: rigging the game to favor private-sector unions at the expense of employers. Now they’re just relying on their allies in the Executive Branch to use regulations, orders and decisions to push through the labor agenda. (continue reading…)