Archive for the ‘card check’ Tag

New York Times adds Obama to long list of presidential candidates they’ve endorsed

In a move that I’m sure will surprise absolutely no one, the New York Times has endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

The editors also praise Obama for promising to “restore a climate in which workers are able to organize unions if they wish,” a probable reference to the very undemocratic card check system, which I blogged about critically here and here. The measure in question would reduce worker’s ability to decide whether or not to unionize and it has garnered opposition from both conservatives and liberals.

They take McCain to task for wanting to make permanent the tax cuts for higher earners that he previously said were fiscally irresponsible, “and while he talks about keeping taxes low for everyone, his proposed cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent of Americans while digging the country into a deeper fiscal hole.” While they credit McCain, who they said was the best Republican candidate during the primaries, with taking tough positions on climate change and other previous issues, they have some harsh criticism:

Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

This blog has been a critic of Sarah Palin’s selection and considers it a gimmick by McCain, a decision calculated to secure the votes of social conservatives, not to promote good government. That she could become president if something happens to McCain is troubling; what his willingness to take that risk says about his governing style is more troubling. It is the opinion of this blog that Governor Palin’s inclusion on the ticket is a significant reason to question McCain’s suitability to be president.

The Times provided historical context and information on all of their previous presidential endorsements, back to Abraham Lincoln in 1860; they provide pdf files of the actual editorials. The reason that no one, I trust, was surprised by their endorsement of Obama is that the paper hasn’t supported a Republican candidate since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.

The New York Times endorsed this man over FDR.  Had he won, he'd have been the only president besides Millard Fillmore with double Ls in both his first and last name.

The New York Times endorsed this man over FDR. Had he won, he'd have been the only president besides Millard Fillmore with double Ls in both his first and last name.

Interestingly, the New York Times endorsed Thomas Dewey, governor of New York, over Harry Truman in 1948. Fortunately, they didn’t run with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman!” as some other papers did. They also supported Wendell Willkie over Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940, though they endorsed FDR in his other three bids. On account of the Willkie endorsement, Grover Cleveland is the only candidate that the paper has endorsed three consecutive times. Given the term limits which now exist and the difficulty of running again after you’ve lost an election, it is unlikely that the paper will endorse another candidate three consecutive times.

Since supporting Woodrow Wilson in 1912, the paper has supported the Democratic candidate 21 out of 25 times, though their first six endorsements all went to Republicans (who all subsequently won).

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More on the undemocratic card check system

USA Today published an op-ed yesterday (“Our view on labor laws: No way to form a union“) opposing the euphemistically named “Employee Free Choice Act,” which, in Orwellian fashion, actually takes away employees’ free choice.  They rightly characterize the measure, which Obama supports and McCain opposes, misguided.

Currently, when union organizers get 30% of a company’s workers to sign unionization cards a democratic election is organized and held where all employees can vote by secret ballot on whether or not they want to unionize.  Union leaders and the employer get to campaign for the votes of the workers, who can try to persuade each other.  Everyone gets to be heard.  Under this law, however, if 50% of a company’s employees can be persuaded to sign cards a union will automatically be organized.

Cajoled choice is more like it. The proposed change would give unions and pro-union employees more incentive to use peer pressure, or worse, to persuade reluctant workers to sign their cards. And without elections, workers who weren’t contacted by union organizers would have no say in the final outcome.

The L.A. Times also editorialized against the law, back in 2007 when it was passed by the House:

Unions once supported the secret ballot for organization elections. They were right then and are wrong now. Unions have every right to a fair hearing, and the National Labor Relations Board should be more vigilant about attempts by employers to game the system. In the end, however, whether to unionize is up to the workers. A secret ballot ensures that their choice will be a free one.

But don’t just take their word for it.  George McGovern, a long time friend of labor rights, is opposed to the measure and appears in a television ad against it, as I recently blogged.  This measure is undemocratic; it is about increasing the power of labor leaders, not workers.

George McGovern and George F. Will both support secret ballot for workers

Conservative Washington Post columnist recently commented about a proposed change to labor law that would take away the right of workers to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not they want to unionize.  He said:

The exquisitely misnamed Employee Free Choice Act would strip from workers their right to secret ballots in unionization elections. Instead, unions could use the “card check” system: Once a majority of a company’s employees—each person confronted one on one by a union organizer in an inherently coercive setting—sign cards expressing consent, the union would be certified as the bargaining agent for all workers. Proving that the law’s purpose is less to improve workers’ conditions than to capture dues payers for the unions, the law would forbid employers from discouraging unionization by giving “unilateral”—not negotiated—improvements in compensation and working conditions.

Will suggested that this was likely to be passed into law unless either McCain becomes president and can veto it or Republicans in the Senate can maintain a filibuster, which requires 40 votes to sustain.  But not all Democrats support the Orwellian-named bill.  George McGovern, the liberal former Senator  who lost the 1972 presidential in a landslide to Richard Nixon, opposes the measure so strongly that he appears in a new 60-second ad against it.

I agree with the Georges; this is a bad bill.  Write your representatives and senators!