Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

EFCA - A View From the Field By Supporters

The BeyondChron, a San Francisco alternative newspaper has an interesting article by Randy Shaw, The Obama/Progressive Agenda: A Progress Report, that focuses on the fate of three progressive items -- health care, immigration reform and EFCA. It's his view on the latter that is of most interest here.

His reporting is that the "almost universal belief" among labor activists is that framing the argument in favor of EFCA around the "right of workers to avoid secret ballot provisions," has turned out not to be a winner.

If that is true, and everything I see makes me agree that it makes sense, Shaw poses and answers the logical question:

”Why is labor continuing to frame the EFCA debate in a way that its own base feels makes no strategic sense? It could be that labor lacks a decision-making process to change course.

SEIU’s Andy Stern is the nation’s most politically influential labor leader. But his Change to Win labor federation is disintegrating, he is in outright warfare with John Wilhelm of HERE, and he is not in a position to sit down with other union heads –particularly those with the AFL-CIO – and work out a new campaign plan.

Shaw's hope is that the two primary legislative sponsors, Senator Harkin and/or Representative George Miller will take the lead in initiating a new plan.

In many ways EFCA is a great poker game. Both organized labor and the business opposition so far have been saying that there is no compromise on this issue. It is all or nothing. If the poker game is only the 111th Congress, then organized labor's continued statement of this position is nothing more than a bluff.

It would be the irony of all ironies if the labor movement were to founder in achieving substantive labor law reform because of internal fighting.


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