10.01.2008 0

Heed this ‘friend of labor’

  • On: 10/21/2008 21:23:19
  • In: Big Labor
  • ALG Editor’s Note: As ALG News previously reported to you, former Democrat candidate for president George McGovern recently wrote an op-ed opposing a bill his party in Congress is pushing that would bring an to secret ballots for union organization. The following featured editorial from the Charleston Post and Courier picks up where Mr. McGovern left off. And ALG News urgesjournalists nationwide to bring the issue to the attention of their readers:

    Heed this ‘friend of labor’

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    The American labor movement has long wielded considerable power in the Democratic Party. But a former Democratic presidential nominee with ample credentials as a self-described “longtime friend of labor” is rightly speaking out against a legislative proposal pushed by union leaders at the expense of workers’ rights.

    George McGovern lost 49 states to White House incumbent Richard Nixon in 1972. Since then, the former South Dakota senator has frequently confirmed his reputation for being to the left of the U.S. political mainstream — and for being a man whose integrity has been admired on both sides of the aisle.

    Mr. McGovern demonstrated that characteristic honesty again in the Aug. 8 Wall Street Journal with a convincing objection to the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” that his party’s congressional leadership supports. Mr. McGovern’s op-ed piece fairly decried the bill as “a disturbing and undemocratic overreach.”

    Under the EFCA, union organizers could forego private elections with secret ballots by collecting signatures from more than half of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit. Such a “card check” process, wrote Mr. McGovern, has often resulted in workers being “pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.”

    Mr. McGovern hailed America’s unions — as he has throughout more than half a century as a political figure — for helping to assure fair treatment of workers, build a strong middle class and to assure fair treatment of workers. However, as he accurately warned, the EFCA would treat workers quite unfairly.

    “We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed,” he wrote.

    That’s a powerful argument from a man who could never be mistaken for a tool of management. Congress should heed Mr. McGovern’s appeal and reject the “undemocratic overreach” of the grossly mislabeled Employee Free Choice Act.


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