CEOs Offer So-Called “Alternative” to Employee Free Choice Act; Key Senator Withdraws Support

Corporate CEOs Offer a Weakened Alternative to the Employee Free Choice Act

This week, supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act–a measure that would make it easier for workers to form unions–faced two setbacks, with several major retailers coming together to offer a watered-down compromise and a key Senator withdrawing support for the bill.

CEOs Outline Alternative Proposal that would Weaken Employee Free Choice Act

Three retailers–Costco, Starbucks, and Whole Foods–are supporting an alternative proposal to the Employee Free Choice Act. The proposal would weaken the Act by eliminating provisions that require unions to be recognized once a simple majority of workers agree to a union (called “card check“) and eliminating a requirement for arbitration if a contract is not reached within 120 days. However, it would improve union access to workers and set a fixed time period in which a union election must happen.

Labor unions and the bill’s sponsors have rejected the proposal saying that it originates from employers who are not serious about labor law reform.

Starbucks and Whole Foods have a history of anti-union intimidation efforts. For example, here in Grand Rapids, Starbucks fired a union organizer working at the East Grand Rapids Starbucks location and engaged int other anti-union efforts.

Key Senator Withdraws Support

A key Republican Senator, Arlen Specter, recently withdrew his support for the bill. In the past, Specter has co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act but he said this week that he would not help stop a Republican filibuster of the bill.

Some Republicans have vowed to keep the bill from becoming law, while Democrats have struggled to convince their caucus to support the legislation. By many accounts, Democrats need Specter’s support to overcome a filibuster.

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Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org

3 thoughts on “CEOs Offer So-Called “Alternative” to Employee Free Choice Act; Key Senator Withdraws Support”

  1. Unions built the Middle Class. Why would anyone except corporations be against Unions. Unions = Worker’s Rights. When there were strong Unions, America was strong with lots of GOOD PAYING jobs, not the walmart kinds of jobs that won’t support a family. Repeal the Free Trade Treaties and bring the manufacturing jobs back and let the people UNIONIZE !

    Unions will create HIGHER PAYING JOBS and then people will spend more. Enough Corporate control over the people !

  2. I agree that unions are invaluable in securing some of the wealth created by companies for the people actually doing the work. But there’s another aspect of the current situation that bears watching.

    In their blindness and greed, the so-called captains of industry seem to have lost track of one important point. The middle class is not just a group of inconvenient employees who require more wages and benefits than these a**holes want to pay. (The very people, as Betsy “Marie Antoinette” DeVos so famously noted, were just being paid too darned much…) The middle class has always been a kind of bulwark that actually protects the upper class from the anger of the unemployed and the working poor over the injustices that have been done to them.

    Now that corporate America has dismantled its own safety net by tattering the middle class to pieces, it will be interesting to see what develops next.

    Ed Cutlip has written an excellent and precise overview of the kind of tactics that corporate CEOs have been using incessantly to undercut worker wages and protections. Thanks for this article.

  3. The latest moves by corporations to try take the teeth out of EFCA are despicable but entirely predictable. When you have CEOs declaring that EFCA will mean the end of civilization, what do you expect? Unions offer the best–some would argue the only–way to check the corporate greed that, as we know through watching the AIG and bailout recipients in general, knows no end. A strong pushback from corporations is the only thing that could be expected from them.

    It’s entirely predictable that Specter would pull his support for the bill, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t depressing. His reason for withdrawing–that because our economy is in such bad shape, this isn’t the right time for such a bill–is essentially a confirmation of what anti-capitalists have argued all along: that capitalism, especially one in crisis, can’t support a living wage for the majority of workers. He’s basically admitting that our current economic system can’t handle providing for people’s basic needs.

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