The summer that shook the American workplace
The new threat and hidden agenda of Labors new Government
By Will Fine, Executive Director National Alliance for Worker and Employer Rights
This summer has been the summer that shook the foundations of the Employee -Employer relationship as no time has in nearly thirty years. While our national security is being defended overseas, our domestic security has become imperiled by governmental transformation at the hands of Labor Union Central Command that has deployed a government it can control. The credibility of Congress is at stake to defend a free workplace.
The summer began when our National Security and the American People were the victors in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Joseph Lieberman caved into Republican and White House opposition to a provision in S.4. The Homeland Security Bill granting collective bargaining rights to TSA screeners. The Bill, without the provision, moved forward on a unanimous consent agreement. Senate Republicans were on guard against the Labor Unions hidden agenda.
For the Pro-labor Democrats the plan was to tie the hands of the Bush Administration through collective bargaining in two ways: (1) -the labor contract would limit the President's flexible response to national emergencies by establishing certain hours and definitions of who could work the emergency contrary to the Presidents assessment and call up of resources for that emergency; (2)-the labor contract above that of the demands of the crises would prevail. What about certain vacation and snack breaks that would happen even in times that potential Terrorists might be getting through our defenses? The snack breaks and vacations would continue and could not be changed. Indeed, collective bargaining is nothing but a dangerous risk in the time of national security crises and war. The defeat of this provision puts the American people first.
Even as the TSA screeners provision defeat was a victory for America's National Security; The House of Representatives votes to imperil states and first responders again.
The House voted with 98 Republicans in tow to reward those who threatened our domestic security by weakening our defenses through the granting of collective bargaining rights to both Firefighters and Police. The House turned its back on the valiant Senate defense of the American people and passed it its own version of the "Pearl Harbor" Bill to support the Labor Lords H.R. 980". Does this vote suggest the first responders of public safety, -- the Police and Firefighters of America, are unlike the TSA Screeners protectors of our domestic security and not as important to Congress? Let those who voted for H.R. 980 know that more workers who protect us will now serve under the shadow of the Union's coercive will.
Nor did the defeat of the TSA screener and Employee Free Choice Act alter the drive of Labor Unions exerting more power to coerce our Government and, through their intimidating version of government, the American People. Unions are transforming themselves into a new form to offset a historic decline. This new form puts the union on a collision course with our Democracy and National-Domestic Security. The recent debate over EFCA reflected the ill- intent of a union- controlled government through the exclusive lens of an EFCA- like world. Like the Orwellian 1984 party slogan "slavery is freedom," the clear illogic of our government under union's control is both broken and good. The method of mind control in Orwell's 1984 was never to connect the past with the present day nobody in "1984" could. In fact, the true past was edited everyday so that nobody could tell the difference between truth and falsehood of history. In the present day of "1984", there is no history at all but the "official" one. The official union history is a long story of how unions "fixed" both a broken and a working government.
Since no one can fix both a broken and good government, today's labor battles clearly show the difference between those who really know the past and those who seek "mind control". Labor Unions have more to loose in their past and far greater desire to control. The greater frequency under this Democratic Congress to improve Labor's position over workers is growing to "1984 proportions by creating an "official" history of those battles that continues to fool even some Republicans into doing the wrong thing.
Why would the Union bosses of today, in turn, mention to the rank and file the continuum of their true historical defeats both on EFCA in 1978 and H.R. 980, which in a previous political cycles is a variation on the postal bill battle of the 1960's-70's? Postal battles that began with unionizing postal workers at a Federal level now are mandated at the state level with fire-fighters and police being compelled today to join the union ranks. Many times have labor unions failed to turn the American workforce into a Gulag of labor bondage. Does this free telling of labor history and conflict not remind the union rank and file of labor's thousand broken promises to them? And that their Labor Boss leadership knows the land of EFCA-- the prelude of Gulag and Socialist Europe-- so well because they already are there.
The Employee Free Choice Act introduced and reiterated the idea that Government ought to perform like an agent for the unions as binding arbitration became synonymous with a rank and file sellout of collective bargaining good faith agreements. If you are a union rank and file member you should be worried that the purpose of binding arbitration and card check is" Big Government" in the form union controlled elections (card check) and special courts (binding arbitration). This form of "Big Government" through third party agents is making decisions at odds with the will of the working man. So why pay dues at all to the unions if the power to make decisions for you are going entirely to the "Big Government" agents themselves?
The establishment of collective bargaining rights for first responders under H.R. 980 is the first advance to a collective government spreading its wings into our lives. As H.R. 980 distorts the time- honored relationship between the state and federal domains by mandating to the states what level collective bargaining rights they should follow. Unmistakably, Labor Unions are doing this to impose TSA collective bargaining amendments and bills to compel government itself into moving their way. This then is the Union's dream of a new form of government. This is labor unions survival, all right, with our American political system in its own image.
If so, what EFCA proved about the new Labor image is that the unions claim the use of "Big Government" in multiple ways with its agents. Their reward for this work, for all of us to see, is paid in forced dues while the government not the unions does for workers what the unions desire. In other words, the unions are getting dues without doing anything for the working man. The government would not split its revenues and taxes with the union: however, through forced dues workers would be paying twice to the government and to the union or they would loose their jobs. None of the union dues money would go to the Government in the end.
Yet, despite this Union threat to our American way of life, some House Republicans completed the Senate EFCA defeat with a major Union victory on H.R. 980. Members, including those Republicans, inexplicably swept this legislation through committee by a 42-1 margin and passage in the House of Representatives. Indeed, one could argue that Speaker Nancy Pelosi who brought up H.R. 980 under suspension of the rules on 7/17/07 did so because of the Republican capitulation in committee. She recognized this collective bargaining bill, with its Republican consent, as no different than all the other non-controversial bills that are normally debated during suspension of the rules.
Now we see how Republicans on the committee capitulated to Pro- Labor Democrats handing the unions a victory for their brand of collective government.
"I am hopeful that this legislation will be modified during the legislative process to strike a more appropriate balance on behalf of public safety officials and the states and local communities they so ably serve. With that in mind, I do not plan to oppose the measure today, as it is marginally better than the bill introduced earlier in this Congress. And should it continue to be improved along the way, I may be able to provide a more vigorous endorsement. I cannot do so right now, however; but in the interest of moving the process forward and in light of the Chairman's willingness to make thoughtful adjustments to the legislation, I will support the measure advancing for consideration by the full House." Congressman Howard Buck McKeon, Press Release ED & Labor 6/20/07
Republicans on the committee should know better than to put their stock in a hope for a better legislative deal with the Unions and Democrats that never came to be. In the end, they should hear and remember these brave words of a man's real struggle than not to make the pernicious deals which shatter hope:
"I know what it is like for those firefighters. But,
you know, my father never belonged to a firefighters union, and that is
what this is. This is basically a union bill and payback to the unions.
But, you know, Georgia is a right-to-work State. We have a 10th
amendment to our Constitution. I was very disappointed to hear from the
chairman that this thing passed out of committee 42-1. That breaks my
heart. That really breaks my heart that those Republicans were on that side."
Floor Statement 7/17/07 Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Going into autumn and beyond, the collective bargaining Bill for so- called Public-Safety goes to Senate where again it will be Republicans who will likely lead both the fight for and against it. H.R. 980 political appeal is nothing less than another Big government-labor agent strategy not unlike the Employee Free Choice Act's outside calling upon Judges as union agents to settle Labors binding arbitration disputes. Business organizations and other groups who rightly opposed the Employee Free Choice Act with its attack on collective bargaining in favor of EFCA's binding arbitration must ask themselves this question: Is H.R. 980, if passed upon the public sector, really about collective bargaining for the unions or about a new vehicle and unchecked precedent for further Congressional violations of the 10th amendment in Labor's name? If H.R. 980 is an "unchecked agent" for the unions in the states, then the so- called "crises" of collective bargaining and its presumed failure in the private sector might become the next best means for public sector increases in Big Labor's over all appeal to Congress to save the House of Labor from its own demise.
Will Fine is Executive Director of the National Alliance for Worker and Employer Rights