Big Promise: Obama Tells Unions That The Employee Free Choice Act Will Pass This Year
Another promise Obama isn’t going to be able to keep?
“We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act,” President Obama told more than 100 top labor officials in a closed-door meeting at the labor federation’s winter gathering in Miami, according to people at the meeting.
The bill would make it easier for unions to recruit workers because it would let them join unions simply by signing cards rather than through secret-ballot elections in which companies can campaign against the union. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations have been campaigning against the legislation.
The president’s remarks were taped on Feb. 20, according to a White House spokesman. Following his remarks, AFL-CIO officials held a meeting with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Separately, on Wednesday, the AFL-CIO is expected to ask the administration to take a controlling stake in banks that receive government funding and a more active role in restructuring their balance sheets. “We believe the debate over nationalization is delaying the inevitable bank restructuring, which is something our economy cannot afford,” reads a draft of an AFL-CIO statement. Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, is a member of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
The Employee Free Choice Act (a/k/a “chard check”), which would rob workers of the ability to vote in a secret ballot when it comes to organizing, is going to be a tough sell to the American people. Obama may have been able to fear-monger his “stimulus’ bill through Congress, but taking away a group of people’s ability to vote on something that impacts their life as much as unions do isn’t going to be as easy. I’d be very surprised if Obama could pass this into law this year.
And there is a groundswell of opposition rising to card check across the nation. Here in North Dakota, as in a lot of other states, there are already developing movements to pass state-level legislation that would protect the sanctity of the secret ballot for workers. That would set up a legal battle over card check that the federal government, if there is any justice left in our federal court system, wouldn’t be likely to win.
Obama’s in a tough spot with this. Given how much the unions poured into his campaign, and how they’ve pushed for Obama since he won the election (they poured millions into ads supporting the “stimulus” and attacking Rush Limbgaugh), Obama has to pay them back. And card check is what they want. But in order to pass card check Obama and his fellow liberals have to convince Americans that the secret ballot is a bad thing.
Given how sacred most Americans hold the right to vote, that’s not going to be an easy sell.