A 'Kinder, Gentler' Ruling Class? NOT!

by Chris Sturr | January 11, 2009

At least if this Nation article is any indication, crisis or no. Tidbits:

“I get the sense that this is more important to them than even taxes or regulation,” says the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, Bill Samuels. “This is about power. And the business community is not going to give up power willingly.” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said as much to a meeting with analysts in October. “We like driving the car,” he told them, “and we’re not going to give the steering wheel to anybody but us.”

In the lead-up to the election, the co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, called Employee Free Choice “the demise of civilization.”

But the business lobby Obama once railed against is now giving him a taste of its wares. The Chamber denounced the bill in op-eds as “payback” to “union bosses” that would signal the end of “workplace democracy” and the advent of “Soviet-style thuggery.” All the big industry associations called press conferences to declare war. “This will be Armageddon,” one top Chamber official said of the battle ahead.

Can Labor Revive the American Dream?
By Esther Kaplan

This article appeared in the January 26, 2009 edition of The Nation.
January 7, 2009

The financial markets are in tatters, consumer spending is anemic and the recession continues to deepen, but corporate America is keeping its eyes on the prize: crushing organized labor. The Center for Union Facts, a business front group, has taken out full-page ads in newspapers linking SEIU president Andy Stern to the Rod Blagojevich scandal. The Chamber of Commerce is capitalizing on the debate over the Big Three bailout to claim that “unions drove the auto companies off the cliff,” while minority leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators insist on steep wage cuts. A December 10 Republican strategy memo revealed their central obsession: “Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor,” the memo read. “This is a precursor to card check”–a clear reference to the Employee Free Choice Act.

This simple amendment to federal labor law, which would, among other things, allow workers to unionize when a majority sign cards rather than requiring a bruising election, has galvanized the business community in a way even the $700 billion bailout couldn’t. “I get the sense that this is more important to them than even taxes or regulation,” says the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, Bill Samuels. “This is about power. And the business community is not going to give up power willingly.” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said as much to a meeting with analysts in October. “We like driving the car,” he told them, “and we’re not going to give the steering wheel to anybody but us.”


Read the rest of the article

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: