EFCA Round-Up: Monday, June 22, 2009

At ShopFloor.org, NAM criticizes the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka for accusing the Association of acting through "front groups":

Labor calling business coalitions “front groups” is meant to imply shadowy, dishonest organizations created to hide one’s alliances. It cannot conceivably be applied to the Coalition for Democratic Workplace, the group the National Association of Manufacturers is active in. In our Shopfloor.org posts on the CDW’s activities, we almost always include a line associating the NAM with its efforts, such as, “The National Association of Manufacturers is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and glad of it.” And here’s the CDW’s membership list.

If Trumka wants his attacks against “front groups” to have some modicum of intellectual honesty, he might want to level them via some other group than the International Centre for Trade Union Rights.

The Alliance for Worker Freedom has issued a new press release asserting that bailing out the failing union multi-employer pension system is the true aim of EFCA:

“The unions’ ulterior motive behind the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is to use the forced binding interest arbitration clause to mandate companies fund the underperforming and underfunded union pension plans,” says AWF Executive Director Brian Johnson. “For companies, the choice is clear: shut down immediately or go out of business due to loss of capital to pay for operating costs by being forced to fund a failing system – it’s that easy.”

The Hill reports that neither Democrat Senator from Montana — Sen. Max Baucus or Sen. Jon Tester — will proclaim support for EFCA as currently drafted:

"It would be very hard to support the bill in its current form, but that is why I’m working with my colleagues in the Senate to bring some common-sense modifications to the bill to make sure it balances workers’ interests with small-business interests," Baucus told The Missoulian, which did a two-part series on EFCA’s potential impact on Montana.

Tester’s spokesman meanwhile said EFCA "isn’t ready for a Senate vote yet," and added that Tester would weigh the bill’s pros and cons before deciding on how to vote.

Finally, at Think Progress, Matthew Yglesias makes the following observations about the filibuster:

I don’t think you need to appeal to the idea that people prefer to pander to the caucus’ worst instincts so much as simply the fact that legislators prefer to do nothing at all. The supermajority—and, more broadly, the extreme difficulty of moving legislation—makes it easier for elected officials to make contradictory commitments to various people. Consider that as long as Democrats clearly didn’t have the votes to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, they could promise labor law reform to unions while also reassuring business that no such law was going pass. After the election suddenly there were sixty members who’d promised to vote for EFCA, which created an awkward situation for those members who, in fact, preferred to do what business wanted and killed it. They had to flip-flop in a not-very-pretty way and anger a lot of people. If it took 67 votes to move a bill, they would have been in much better shape, loyal friends to Wal-Mart and the AFL-CIO alike.