Posted Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, at 11:01 PM
'Card Check' Begins at Home: For much of today, pride of place on the Huffington Post home page--the coveted 'Huff Left' slot--was enjoyed by Robert Kuttner's piece touting the Employee Free Choice Act, the so called "card check" bill that would make it easier for unions to organize new workplaces by letting them avoid secret ballot elections if they can produce signed cards from a majority of workers. Kuttner was heartened by President Obama's "stunning declaration of support" for unions (Obama:"we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement")--but he admitted the card check bill won't be easy to pass without the President's "strong personal engagement."
But wait a minute. Huffington Post doesn't need Obama, or 'card check,' to strike a mighty, demonstrative blow for organized labor . HuffPo 's a powerful, left wing new media corporation-- the model for future quality journalism, according to Michael Hirschorn --with dozens of non-rich, non-managerial employees, the prototypical knowledge workers of the future. Whole rooms full of them in Soho! Don't they need the level playing field that would let them leverage HuffPo 's productivity gains, as (we're told) unions leveraged productivity gains in the 1950s?
It wouldn't be hard to do. A word from Arianna to her friend Andy Stern of the SEIU and I'm sure he'd do her the favor of sending over some top-notch organizers. Collecting signed cards from 30 percent of HuffPo employees should be a piece of cake, especially given what Kuttner discerns as the blessing of Obama. If there are holdouts, a raised eyebrow from Roy Sekoff should be intimidation enough.
After that, all Arianna has to do is recognize her new union and negotiate in "good faith"! I'm sure Stern wouldn't demand much--perhaps a clause saying Arianna and CEO Ken Lerer could not dismiss any employee except for "good cause," as determined by arbitration. And of course promotion by seniority as opposed to, say, diggs or hit counts or ... productivity. Nothing she won't find it easy to live with! Really won't cramp her style at all. And imagine the wave of prosperity when Jason Linkins and Sam Stein purchase new condos in a troubled real estate market with their SEIU-negotiated raises.
Then Stern can move on to the New Republic . I nominate Jonathan Chait for shop steward.
Update: In her latest post, Huffington does not seem very kindly disposed toward teachers' unions . But no doubt that's a special case! ... 10:22 P.M.