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March 25, 2009

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"But getting back to Specter, I think his new position shows that he fears Toomey more than the Democrats at the moment. And that calculation may be correct – it certainly was in 2004."

Playing in the background, Chris Matthews -- who certainly knows Pennsylvania politics no matter what else one may think of him -- said exactly the same thing a few minutes ago.

On name recognition alone, Specter will be hard to beat in Pennsylvania, not that it can't be done. But he has significantly more Democratic support here than Rick Santorum could ever haved dreamed of having. Specter is thought of as a moderate and maverick in Pennsylvania and that plays well in this blue state, which, as everyone knows, is extremely red in the so-called redneck region between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I'd tip my hat to anyone who could defeat Specter.

At the same time, the unions endorsed him in 2004, and they aren't going to be doing that again. That could make a big difference.

They simply aren't going to come around on anything important.

Quite the opposite. The damned RINO did finally come around on something very very important. ;)

Social issues Republicans can maverick on, but when it comes to protecting the interests of the poor put upon overclass, they've got to toe the line.

"The story also illustrates another timeless truth -- the best way to get progressive policies enacted is to defeat Republicans."

If the EFCA is really progressive, which is questionable for at least one major portion.

A somewhat related bill has just died in WA state because the Democratic governor were unwilling to support it.

But on Monday, Gregoire said the problems such a bill would have created for Boeing made it impossible for her to sign into law - even before the e-mail controversy erupted.

"I made it clear, before this took place, that if the bill applied to Boeing it would not get past my desk," Gregoire said.

Though it might have been because of attempted strong arm tactics:

In the key passage of the e-mail, which was a strategy memo about the privacy bill, Washington State Labor Council's Jeff Johnson writes that union leaders' strategy will be to tell the state Democratic Party and House and Senate Democratic campaigns "that 'not another dime from labor' until the Governor signs the Worker Privacy Act."

The e-mail was sent to a long list of labor officials, but also copied in four Democratic state lawmakers who were sponsors of the bill: Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett, Sen. Joe McDermott, D-Seattle, and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

Call his bluff. Remove the card check portion and keep the stronger company punishments.

Specter voted for the stimulus package and appeared DEAD to the Republican Party. They BARELY trusted him before. They trust him EVEN LESS now. Now, with his BETRAYAL of Labor, without whose help he could not have won last time, it makes him extremely vulnerable in the '10 general, should he even SURVIVE a GOP PRIMARY.

He likely had to cut some kind of deal. I can't see anyway a politician of Specter's savvy making this kind of move, which on the SURFACE appears to be political suicide.

From Think Progress.org:

As evidence of the right-wing pressure he was facing, one of Specter’s first calls was to Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, to inform him of his decision. Further, as Sam Stein notes, Specter is “likely to face a major primary challenge from Club For Growth president Pat Toomey in the 2010 election, which may have factored into this apparent decision.”

Responding to Specter's announcement, Norquist told the Washington Times, "This is huge. This ends card check for the year. Now we have to make sure the Democrats don't pick up two or three Senate seats."

Hmmm. Maybe Toomey will decide to "spend some more time with his family" instead of running in the primary (which show him with a 41%-27% lead according to a recent Quinnipiac poll).

I guess SPINCTOR chose political expediency over the average working American. But hey, who cares, right? It's just the working stiffs who get SCREWED, right?

It has never made much sense to me that various people seem to think that 60 Democrats in the Senate constitute a filibuster proof majority. 60 votes, yes. If one wants progressive laws out of the Senate, we need to do far more than elect fewer Republicans. We also need to elect fewer Blue Dog Democrats, and more Progressive ones.


"Call his bluff. Remove the card check portion and keep the stronger company punishments"

Flip-side: Call THEIR bluff. KEEP EVERYTHING as is and make 'em REALLY FILIBUSTER.

Or, wait it out. Don't bring it to a vote that you will SURELY not receive cloture on unless you GUT IT. Unacceptable, IMO.

I support the EFCA because it represents Labor's best chance for LONG OVERDUE reform of the NLRA,(the last real reform was 5 DECADES ago) not because of the "card-check" provision (which I actually don't like), but in spite of it. The card-check provision serves it's purpose in the bill as a "lightning-rod" by drawing the media and public's attention to an indisputable FACT (IMO):

The current system is broken, and needs fixing.

The bill as written, IMO, never had a chance to be passed. To use a sports analogy, passing it as written would be like hitting a world series game 7 bottom of the 9th inning grand slam home run to win for labor.

I would be willing to give up the card-check provision in exchange for a fairer election process, one that would shorten the length of time between petition and election, one that would give equal access to both Management and the Union during the period between petition and election, and would lessen the draconian appeals process currently in place for post-election objections. If the NLRB finds that the election was fairly conducted and certifies it, the employer is obligated under the law to bargain in good faith with the workers' chosen representative. HOWEVER THE EMPLOYER CAN LEGALLY DEFY the NLRB's ORDER by engaging in what is called a "TECHNICAL REFUSAL TO BARGAIN." Using this tactic, the employer REFUSES the union's bargaining request and forces it to file a NEW UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE CHARGE with the NLRB. The NLRB must then initiate an unfair labor practice case based on the employer's refusal to bargain, and seek support for the NLRB ruling from a federal appeals court. YEARS OF LITIGATION CAN FOLLOW. And this takes place AFTER the NLRB's 2 stage appeals process, ours took 11 months, some take longer, depending on circumstances. (Now, does this really sound like something that has been described as "the cornerstone of DEMOCRACY" to you?) This is why I say "the system is broke, and needs fixing"

I would be willing to make concessions on the arbitration and mediation provisions, maybe extend the period from 120 days to a year (or longer) before seeking mediation and arbitration. The 90-120 days is unrealistic, and would actually deter any real bargaining in that period, because neither side would want to give an arbitrator a "starting point" in determining the final contract terms.

But the one thing I would be unwilling to compromise on is the "penalties" provision. These are a must. A common expression of U.S. labor law says that the NLRA is remedial, not punitive. The NLRB cannot penalize an employer for breaking the law. It can only order a "make-whole" REMEDY restoring the status quo ante as the remedy for unfair labor practices. This is what typically happens when an employer breaks the law (commits a ULP):

The NLRB issues an order stating something like "we shall order it to cease and desist, to bargain on request with the Union,..." and further "order" them to POST A SIGN FOR 60 CONSECUTIVE DAYS "IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE" stating (sarcastically paraphrasing) "We know we were naughty, but we promise we won't do it again".

OOH, THAT'LL REALLY SCARE 'EM.

No, no compromise WHATSOEVER on the penalties provision. I'm sure the counter to that would be mgmt would want increased penalties on Unions who commit similar violations. Fine with me. Although I am fully supportive of Unions, I am not naive enough to think that Unions don't break laws, too, and by increasing penalties on Unions also, it provides even further protection for workers, which is NEVER a bad thing.

Sorry, didn't mean to be so long-winded, but this is my take on what I would like to see happen.

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