Thursday, May 07, 2009

George McGovern: "The ‘Free Choice’ Act Is Anything But"

George McGovern, the Democratic Party's 1972 presidential nominee, was an old school New Deal lion.

Actually, he still is one.

McGovern is an opponent of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. Not just its card check provision, but also the mandatory arbitration part of EFCA.

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Many labor contracts can run over 100 pages with their requirements of each party. Compulsory arbitration is, in one sense, government dictating to employees what they will win or lose in the deal, with no opportunity to approve the "agreement." Why should employees pay union dues to get such a contract?

My perspective on the so-called Employee Free Choice Act is informed by life experience. After leaving the Senate in 1981, I spent some time running a hotel. It was an eye-opening introduction to something most business operators are all-too familiar with -- the difficulty of controlling costs and setting prices in a weak economy. Despite my trust in government, I would have been alarmed by an outsider taking control of basic management decisions that determine success or failure in a business where I had invested my life savings.

When it comes to labor disputes, both parties should be guaranteed a real chance for compromise under the joint economic threat of contract breakdowns. George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1979, had it right in condemning mandatory arbitration as "an abrogation of freedom."

My party has well-deserved majorities in both houses of Congress, and I am thankful to have an exceptional president in Barack Obama. But while the Democratic majority in Washington confers the power to reward our loyal supporters, today's problems require solutions that transcend party politics. Even when that means taking unpopular stands.

Related post:

Report from the bloggers' conference call about Employee FORCED Choice binding arbitration

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1 comment:

El Rider said...

The Fact that these people are willing to take away other's right to vote is beyond the pale. I have met Sen. McGovern and I am not surprised at his stance, a stance that he has held for some time.

One thing is for sure, Chicago Democrats like your Congresscreature (Schakowsky, right?) will never stand for this outrage!