Harkin Delivers The Perfect EFCA Message

by: David Sirota

Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 11:59

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) delivers a very succinct smackdown of the right's "we can't pass EFCA because the economy is in the shitter" argument:

"In a time when we have an economy that's already struggling, we can't put more burdensome regulations on employers," said  Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). "This is a job killer for our economy when we really don't need it."

The bill's supporters are pointing to the downturn as the ultimate proof of their arguments that labor's decline has helped put the economy out of balance and that only by restoring workers' purchasing power can the nation return to broadly shared prosperity.

"In 1935, we passed the Wagner Act that promoted unionization and allowed unions to flourish, and at the time we were at around 20 percent unemployment. So tell me again why we can't do this in a recession?" said  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), invoking the pro-labor changes of the New Deal. "This is the time to do it. This is exactly the time we should be insisting on a fairer playing field for people to organize themselves."

Put another way, we don't have the leeway to pass EFCA despite the bad economy, we have the imperative to pass EFCA because of the bad economy.

David Sirota :: Harkin Delivers The Perfect EFCA Message

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I wish President (4.00 / 4)
Obama would talk like that.  More than ever, he must put his prestige and political capital on the line for EFCA.

Great response by Harkin.  

Rule #1 of a union campaign (4.00 / 4)

Rule #2:  also, inoculate.

After that, do not waste time talking about the boss's issues.  If everyone thinks this debate is about whether we can afford to burden business, or why we should deprive workers of the sacred, secret ballot (which EFCA won't do, but that's the claim), then we lose.

If everyone thinks this is a debate about preventing abuse of workers by their own employers, and about respecting workers enough to trust them to make up their own minds, and about helping workers share the prosperity we create for everyone, then we might win.

Example:  "The companies that have been making record profits while telling us they couldn't give us a raise; the corporate titans who took home multi-million-dollar bonuses while they raised our copays and our interest rates; those folks are going to throw out any idea they can think of to distract us from what Employee Free Choice is about:  'you'll lose the secret ballot! we'll destroy jobs! we won't be competitive! the Cubs will never win the World Series!'

"Don't be fooled.  This bill is very simple.  It gives workers the right to decide, on their own, whether they need a second vote to confirm their decision to organize a union; and for the first time it introduces actual penalties for employers who threaten or punish their own workers for exercising their legal right to form a union.

"If you trust workers to make up their own minds, and you think those CEOs talk loud enough already, you should support the Employee Free Choice Act."


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