Human Events, the right-wing magazine that Anne Coulter describes as the place where she really feels at home, sent out alerts all over the Internet March 6 claiming that Vice President Joe Biden was meeting “in secret” with leaders of the AFL-CIO in Miami during their recent executive council meeting there. The alleged topic of these “secret” meetings was how they were going to “ram through” the “Card Check Forced Unionism Bill.”

The Human Events e-mail presented a communiqué from the National Right to Work [for less] Committee that read, “This disastrous compulsory unionism power grab would eliminate the secret ballot in workplace unionization drives and would subject millions of Americans to union intimidation and demands to pay union dues or be fired from their jobs.”

This single communiqué from the “right to work” committee — an advertiser in Human Events — contained so many big lies that it is almost difficult to know where to begin answering them.

Before I get to the “secret” meetings in Miami, however, it might help to clear up the lies about the Employee Free Choice Act itself. Right now, under the law, unions can be formed when a majority of workers sign cards indicating they want a union or they can be formed after an election in which people vote on whether they want union representation. The company gets to make that choice. If the EFCA becomes law the choice will still be the same — only the workers, not their employers — will make the choice.

In addition, it is difficult to believe that bosses who don’t let workers decide even where the water cooler in an office should be placed are suddenly concerned about encouraging democracy at their work places.

The right-to-work-for-less committee also said that giving union “bosses” more “compulsory unionism power” in the middle of an economic crisis is a “prescription for disaster.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the most heavily unionized communities are the very places where businesses thrive the most. When people have money to spend the economy flourishes. The anti-union voices have had their way for 30 or more years. The result to our economy is clear now to the vast majority.

As for the “union bosses” and the vice president’s “secret meetings”:

First, it is a sad day in America’s history when any magazine should print an article that says the nation’s vice president and its labor leaders were “plotting” in secret, to pass a bill that does nothing more than enforce what has long been the law of the land.

The National Labor Relations Act, passed in the Great Depression, said “It is the policy of the government of the United States to encourage collective bargaining.” That remains the law of the land today.

The law of the land does not say, “It is the policy of the government of the United States to see to it that people are fired for exercising their right to form a union.”

The law of the land does not say, “It is the policy of the United States government to harass workers, force them to attend mandatory anti-union propaganda sessions under penalty of firing and to do everything possible to ensure that they earn low salaries, receive no benefits and get no retirement.”

The Employee Free Choice Act became necessary only because, during the period since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act, big business has found a thousand and one ways to subvert what is already the law of the land — the right of workers to engage in collective bargaining.

Essentially, the EFCA will guarantee that workers get what they are already supposed to have. The problem for the Right to Work [for less] Committee and Human Events is that they believe workers should be happy with little pay and no rights whatsoever.

As for the “secret” Biden meetings with “labor bosses” in Miami — that is just the latest lie coming from the National Right to Work [for less] Committee.

I covered the March 2 – 5 executive council meeting in Miami for the People’s Weekly World. There were nine reporters from nine different print publications present in the room with the AFL-CIO executive council from the time that the vice president walked into the room until he left.

There was one reporter each from The New York Times, the BNA news service, the Wall Street Journal, the People’s Weekly World, the Miami Herald, the Associated Press, Press Associates, New Republic Magazine and In These Times.

First, we heard the vice president speak for 45 minutes about the Obama administration’s programs regarding the economy, health care and many other issues.

When his talk was over he said he wanted to take questions from and speak with both the labor leaders and the media. The press reps there, including myself, heard the vice president take questions from and respond to issues raised by labor leaders.

One wanted to know the administration’s game plan for overhauling the nation’s health care system. Biden talked about how the administration had set aside more than $600 billion for this in the new budget and how its approach was to involve a broad array of groups in the process of developing a plan. The implication was that this will work better than the attempt at reform during the Clinton administration.

On bank bailouts, the vice president basically asked that the labor movement be patient. He admitted that providing banks with bailouts was not popular but said it was necessary, albeit with oversight. The AFL-CIO had just passed a resolution urging no bailouts unless banks came under much more public control. There was an honest difference here, but it was not kept secret from the press, and therefore the public.

Human Events and the Right to Work [for less] Committee never demand that the corporate boardrooms open themselves up to the press — to allow the people to hear about what jobs will be exported where, for example. They only insist on such transparency for the labor movement.

In this case they insisted on March 6, all over the Internet, that the labor movement was having secret meetings with the vice president to pull the wool over the peoples’ eyes. It was just another one of their big lies. The labor movement and the vice president, in full view of print media representing the entire political spectrum, held an open discussion about how best to make sure the laws of this land work the way they are supposed to — for the people.

Comments

comments

MOST POPULAR