A man whose liberal credentials has given his two cents worth in this morning’s WSJ. George McGovern opposes EFCA. This isn’t a politician with strong union-busting credentials. This is George McGovern. Here’s what Sen. McGovern says:
As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I’ve participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn’t always win, but I always respected the process.
Voting is an immense privilege.
That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.
The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.
The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.
Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.
This isn’t someone that just spews talking points provided by one interest group or another. He likely didn’t just accept someone’s word on this. It’s likely that George McGovern read the bill for himself.
That means that Al Franken and El Tinklenberg are on the opposite side of a labor issue as a liberal icon who’s read the bill. That’s got to be unsettling for them. Prior to this op-ed, Democrats could just argue that Republicans were just causing election year trouble. They can’t do that anymore.
George McGovern just took care of that with this op-ed.
UPDATE: Check out this post for more on the McGovern op-ed.