Politico To Labor: Why Are You Hitting Yourself?

January 27th, 2010at 07:18am Posted by Eli


Yes, that’s right, it’s Labor’s fault that EFCA is dead:

Big Labor’s top legislative priority, a bill creating an easier way to organize workers, is essentially dead – and its own members were instrumental in killing it.

The victory of Republican Scott Brown’s in last week’s Massachusetts Senate special election that deprived Democrats of a filibuster-proof majority is not only bad news for health care. It also means that Republicans will be able to block the Employee Free Choice Act from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

Asked if EFCA was dead for the year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the bill’s sponsor, hesitated for several seconds, saying, “Well, it’s, it’s, it’s there. But it doesn’t look too good.” He added: “I’m not going to give up on it. I’ll never give up on it.”

For a year, labor leaders kept their bargain with Congressional Democrats and the White House: health care first, then EFCA. The election of Martha Coakley to fill the seat held for decades by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was supposed to be the last step on a long, twisting road toward moving the legislation forward.

Whether their rank-and-file lost patience or simply didn’t realize the stakes, the decision of most union members in Massachusetts to back Brown rather than Coakley helped put the last nail in a legislative effort that was already on life support.

According to the AFL-CIO’s election night survey of Massachusetts voters, 49 percent of union members voted for Brown compared to 46 percent who backed Coakley. That’s even worse than the findings of a Republican election night survey, which found union voters split 49-48 for Brown and Coakley, respectively.

Of course, the principal reason why MA union voters turned on Obama and the Democrats was their abject failure to deliver on any of their promises.  Union leadership may have believed the White House when it strung them along and used the promise of EFCA to extort extract their support (or at least non-opposition) for the terrible Senate healthcare reform bill, but the rank-and-file was apparently paying closer attention to Obama’s track record on progressive initiatives.

Obama and the Democrats were never going to exert any more effort for EFCA than they did for the public option, and MA union voters knew it.

(Graphic by Married To The Sea)

Entry Filed under: Comics,Labor,Media,Obama,Politics

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