Thursday, April 30, 2009
Jennifer Rubin worries that we're headed for a "card check lite" compromise --i.e., dropping the most controversial provisions but still giving labor organizers a boost--and that the vaunted business lobby has no weapons on hand to combat it. She suggests some. ... P.S.: Certainly the post-Specter statement of "principles" from AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuel was compromise-ready :
The Employee Free Choice Act is built on three fundamental principles and we believe a bill that stays true to these will become law: Workers need to have a real choice to form a union and bargain for a better life, free from intimidation; We have to stop the endless delays (and) companies can't just stall to stop workers' choice, and; There have to be real penalties for violating the law," Samuel added.
Samuel doesn't mention either a) bypassing secret ballot elections or b) compulsory arbitration. ... P.P.S.: Part of the problem, of course, is that some anti-card-checkers (not me!) have pretended they don't oppose greater union power--they just object to eliminating the secret ballot, etc.. But now it's time for a debate on whether more (and more powerful) Wagner Act unions really are a good thing. If business can't yet make the case that they aren't --at a time when the unionized auto industry has collapsed under the weight of its own rules and the unionized urban public schools are flailing to reverse their contract-protected incompetence-- when can they make it? .... 5:14 P.M.
You are my Journolist! Question of the Day : Is the UAW contract (aside from the already-approved concessions ) protected in bankruptcy? Reading today's NYT , it looks like the answer is "no"--meaning Obama is maybe whistling past the graveyard in downplaying the significance of Chapter 11 and suggesting the bankruptcy will necessarily be "quick, official and controlled." From Micheline Maynard's trot :
Contracts covering members of the United Automobile Workers union and other unions will remain in force, until the company asks a judge to void them . U.A.W. members approved changes to their contract on Wednesday that presumably would mean the contract would stay in place.
But if the company asked for contracts to be terminated and replaced with terms it can more readily afford, the union would have a chance to respond in court. Negotiations would take place before any cuts were imposed. This process could take months. [E.A.]
An "administration official" says that "no judge is going to override" the contract, given all the concessions the UAW has made. Really? Concessions that don't involve a decrease in a very high base wage? ... But you tell me. ... Update: IBD suggests the administration's confidence masks at least some nervousness. ... Complication: Once the UAW owns 55% of the company, why would it let the company ask for the contracts to be voided? ... But UAW's president says he doesn't intend to hold that stake for very long. Once he sells ... More useful bankruptcy speculation here . ... In the end, if this whole thing is going to fly, doesn't somebody have to buy Chrysler's cars ? Who is that going to be. ... 5:08 P.M.
I can plug too : So how come Rush gets all the money? ... 5:06 P.M.
kf hears: Bon Appetit and Gourmet are the next Conde Nast mags slated to die. ... Steve Rattner isn't nearly as key a player in the auto bailout as his media profile would suggest. Ron Bloom is doing the job lots of people think Rattner is doing. That might meant that Rattner--mired in a "pay to play" controversy --will be expendable when the dust settles. ... 5:05 P.M.
Scariest thing I've heard about Obama: He reads Andrew Sullivan's blog . ... The Churchill/torture anecdote Obama told last night (from "an article I was reading") apparently came from Sullivan . Not surprisingly, the " facts had altered slightly" by the time they'd made their way through Andrew to Obama. ... Sometimes it's best to stay in the bubble!** ... Update: Relying on Sullivan, Obama left out the London Cage. ("Beatings, sleep deprivation and starvation used on SS and Gestapo men," reported The Guardian in 2005.) Michael Tomasky says "[T]he White House may have to walk that one back a bit ..." [Tks to reader M.] ...
**--Earlier version of this item said "cocoon," not "bubble." But Sullivan arguably is in Obama's cocoon on the issue of torture, no? Not sure about the issue of genital warts ! ... Update: "Isn’t that kind of like Zac Efron reading Tiger Beat?" ... 5:04 P.M.