Desuetude--Law Nonenforcement--Hurts People

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Alternet: False Labor: After Elaine Chao, You Owe Us

Posted by Ramona at 10:45 am
February 12, 2010
commentsREPLIES: 1
False Labor: After Elaine Chao, You Owe Us

Name me one Republican congressperson who backs the unions. Name me one who has EVER backed the unions. Now give me one good reason why any of us who support unions and equity in the work force should be hopeful that they will see the light and give Big Business the business for undermining and ultimately destroying the lives of millions and millions and millions of Americans.

They’re not going to do it. All of our hopes and prayers and groveling and kowtowing will do nothing to change their minds. The country is falling down around us and they’re still concerned with “death taxes” and keeping the business climate sunny with no chance of annoying precipitation. Unemployment figures mean nothing to them, except as proof of the effectiveness of downsizing, under-employing and off-shoring. Lean and mean. That’s the way to do it.

Each and every one of them got to where they are by appealing to the rank-and-file members of the work force and getting them to cast their ballots for them. They couldn’t have won without them. To say they’ve turned into ungrateful bastards is like saying the cat turned into the dog. Interesting, but not especially earth-shattering. It’s more than that. They lied, they lied again, and they’re still lying.

We couldn’t bid high enough, so they sold out to the highest bidder. And before you get all huffy and tell me the Democrats aren’t much better, let me just say this about the Democrats: they’re not much better. (I qualify it because some of them are much, much better. Nobody listens to them is all.)

Here’s how I see the Democrats: There they are hiding behind the trees while the marauders are out there slashing and burning. They’re wringing their hands, muttering, “This can’t be right. . .”. Some of them turn tail and run. Others of them haul out the white flags and surrender. Even others of them see profit in them thar hills and make a mad, friendly dash to the other side. So we’re left with a ragtag handful of good souls trying to fend them all off with the only ammunition available: a need to serve a suffering people and a clear vision of what that means.

So the Republicans have now refused to approve the nomination of Craig Becker, President Obama’s choice for the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) on the grounds that, as a former labor union lawyer, he’s biased toward labor. No, really.

This is what the NLRB does:

What We Do

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. The statute guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union, or to refrain from all such activity.

So is it too much to ask, in this climate so sunny for all but the masses, that the very agency set up to protect the workers would be administered by someone from LABOR???

The Republicans cry “foul”, but, according to a great post by Adele Stan, AlterNet’s Washington Bureau chief, Bush used the recess seven times to stack the NLRB with business-friendly members.

There was Peter N. Kirsanow, who “[represented] management in employment-related litigation, as well as in contract negotiations, NLRB proceedings, EEO matters, and arbitration.”

There was Ronald E. Meisburg, a member of the Employment Lawyers Advisory Council of the National Association of Manufacturers, a group that, as Stan reminds us, is about as anti-union as you can get.

There was Michael J. Bartlett, director of Labor Law policy at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce (Wait. I take back what I said about the NAM being as anti-union as you can get. The USCC tops them and wins, hands down.)

Stan has more to say about this, so please go on over and read the rest. It wouldn’t hurt to pass it along, either.

So maybe you’re wondering about my title. About Elaine Chao and how she fits in here. Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, and an unabashed pro-business cheerleader, was Labor Secretary under George W. Bush for eight lo-o-o-o-n-g years. She was recruited from the Heritage Foundation, where her claim to fame was the constant denunciation of Affirmative Action. She was praised by the U.S Chamber of Commerce (see above) for supporting “the limited role of government” and “free-market principals”. John Sweeney, former head of the AFL-CIO said of her, “I have never seen a Labor Secretary who is so anti-labor”.

She tried to water down OSHA practices, kept her distance from labor advocates, argued that Homeland Security employees shouldn’t be union members because it would cause them not to be able to protect Americans sufficiently, and all around kept those damned labor protections from harming her best buds.

She now stumps for Big Business, talking against any measures that might ease the burden of the working people of this country. Increased taxes, increased government mandates, increased government regulations. Her solution? Stop the health care reforms and cancel scheduled tax increases, including the estate tax. She says, with passion, “This economy needs to be free from the shackles (voice cracks here) of government regulations and government mandates and government regulations.” (ed note: And probably government mandates, too.)
So, labor people (and former labor people, and wannabe labor people), could you kindly throw boulders at the Republicans and lob a few bricks at the Democrats and help us get this country back on its feet?It’s not like there’s nothing in it for you.

(Cross-posted at Ramona’s Voices here)

I'm a liberal woman from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, old enough to remember where I was when FDR died. My website, Ramona's Voices, was first published on the afternoon of Barack Obama's Inaugural after hearing his call to service. My blog includes many voices, because one just isn't enough. Liberal-leaning, thoughtful commentary without a hint of navel-gazing.


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