More following Friday’s New York Times report that Senate Dems are considering dropping card-check from EFCA, but retaining the troubling mandatory interest arbitration provision.
At Commentary, Jennifer Rubin continues her coverage of EFCA developments, expressing skepticism that any such "compromise" would fly:
If there is such a deal, those Red state Democrats will be back on the hot seat. With unemployment heading for double-digits, will they vote for “card check lite”? So long as Big Labor is proposing that government-appointed arbitrators would have the power to set terms and conditions of employment for first labor agreements and that employers’ right to control their private property be sacrificed, you can expect a battle royale, including a filibuster from opponents.
Opponents may need to come up with a new name for the bill (though "card check" was working pretty well for them). How about "federal pay determination"? Keep in mind that not only does the apparent "compromise" propose abandoning the hoary idea that wages should be set in the marketplace, it also abandons the New Deal’s substitute idea that wages should be set in labor contest where unions threaten to use their strike power and management threatens to survive a strike. Unions seem to have given up strikes. Instead they want to authorize an official–maybe even an actual federal bureaucrat–to simply swoop down and impose what would undoubtedly be a wage increase. That’s more akin to FDR’s notorious, failed National Recovery Act–except the NRA at least let industries set their own rigid wage scales. …
Note also that the arbitration provisions give now-unorganized workers a new, powerful incentive to unionize: Vote for the union, wait a few months, and an arbitrator will fly in and give you a raise. No strike. No fuss. No muss.
Kaus includes a link to his April piece wherein he recommended that business and other opponents begin to think of their own elements for inclusion in any labor law reform bill. Well worth repeated reads now.
Finally, at NAM’s Shopfloor.org, Carter Wood articulates an interesting possibility:
Here’s a theory, admittedly paranoid and probably giving labor too much credit: The NYT story represents a two-part jujitsu strategy by labor. Labor claims outrage at this “compromise,” but the removal of card check prompts business to emphasize how toxic the binding arbitration provisions are. THEN, labor agrees to drop binding arbitration too, leaving business sputtering about how the remaining legislation is still bad but struggling to articulate why. With business politically neutered, the Senate passes a bill with ambush elections, a gag on employer involvement in the election process, and increased penalties. Unions still wind up with a new ability to intimidate employees into joining unions and an election process slanted toward labor.