Big Labor Agenda is DEAD – For NOW

Unions spent $400 Million dollars to get a large majority of Democrat Representatives in the House, a super majority of 60 Senators in the Senate and President Obama elected to office.   Last January the Unions were literally on top of the world.  They paid a high price for their success and they surely expected to be rewarded.  Make no mistake about it.  These people were all bought and paid for by the Unions and the Unions expected to cash in their chips. 

Last January I was predicting that House Bill # 1 that would come out of the House would be the Employee free Choice act or “EFCA.”  This was without question the big prize that the Unions all wanted.  It would take the 7% of the private sector workforce that was unionized and expand it to 14% in short order.  And it made a lot of sense if you were a Democrat to pass such legislation because if the Unions could raise and spend $400 MILLION dollars with 7% of the private workforce, they could raise and spend $800 MILLION dollars with 14% of the private sector.

It is old news that Scott Brown pulled off a miracle for non-union employers when he won the Kennedy seat in the Senate.  A seat that had been Democratic since the mid 1950’s when John Kennedy held that same seat.  A miracle even more so when you look at the registered voters and see 1.5 million Democrats registered to 500,000 Republicans.

With this one victory, Big Labor has seen its agenda to pass EFCA, to change the Railway Labor Act so it would be easier to organize Fed Ex and a whole host of other changes just disappear.  Moreover, with the up-coming fall elections, it looks like even more House and Senate seats will change to Republican.

The big news what is now going on inside labor.  It is simply the fall-out of the Unions with those Democratic politicians who blew the best chance Big Labor ever had to see real changes in the law that would help Big Labor from becoming extinct — just like the dinosaurs. 

What happened can only be described as the worst political blunder this writer has ever seen in his lifetime.  With $400 MILLION dollars spent, with the promise of raising another $800 MILLION dollars in the next election cycle, how in the world could the Democrats so blow this for the Unions?

I expected House Bill # 1 to be passed and sent over to the Senate.  I expected that once Al Franken was seated in the Senate that Harry Reid would stop Senate business, bring EFCA directly to the Senate floor, that 60 Democrat Senators would vote down the filibuster, and that about 5 of those same Senators would then vote against the bill so they could say to the folks back home, “I voted against EFCA.”

This is what the Unions expected in January of last year and rightfully so based upon what they had done for the Democrats.   What happened?  Politics inside the Democratic party destroyed the Union’s agenda. 

The first thing that happened was Nancy Pelosi played politics by refusing to vote EFCA out of the House until the Senate acted first.  The next thing that happened is that Arlen Specter, who when you look op the word “opportunist” you will see his picture, decided to play politics by demanding changes in the bill.  Yet, on the campaign trail Specter told the union faithful that they would be happy with his vote on EFCA.  Then the final stake that was driven into the heart of Big Labor’s legislative agenda was that President Obama promised them an EFCA vote, “After health care was passed” and they bought it hook, line and sinker.

As a result of these items, when Scott Brown was elected, there was no bill before the Senate on EFCA, so Reid could not bring up the House bill (thank you Nancy Pelosi) and there was no consensus on a bill in the Senate because of Specter (thank you Arlen Specter) and there was no leadership in the Senate to get this passed after Al Franken was elected (thank you Harry Reid).

The Union’s having seen the “pearly gates” only to have the whole image wiped out on one Tuesday night in February in an election most people thought a dead Democrat could win are without question upset.  And rightfully so because if I were a Union member, the FIRST thing I would want from these Democrat Keystone Cops would be my money back!  Since that cannot happen, the Democrats are now facing a mean and nasty Big Labor that is turning on the Democrats.  And from their standpoint, rightfully so because when they needed key support, it was either not there at all or at best it was weak and ineffective.

The first fall-out is in Colorado where the Teamster and UFCW Unions have endorsed in the primary not sitting Democratic Senator Bennett but his opponent.  Senator Bennett played politics with EFCA, refused to take any stand on it, and is now paying a price.  Using this as a standard, I would think the Union’s hit list would be quite long.   Senator Nelson of Nebraska certainly comes to my mind.  Senator Feinstein has also got to be on this same hit list.

I would think next on the list ought to be Senator Specter.  After all, if it were not for him playing politics with this issue, Harry Reid might have brought EFCA out for a vote.  Next on the list has got to be Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas who in the land of Wal-Mart last year in the fall decided to publically oppose EFCA.  Since she is way down in the polls and unlikely to win in November, the Unions are quite likely to refuse to endorse her and either not spend any money in the state or maybe even actively oppose her just to send a message to Senator Mary Landrieu of La. that she had better not use Lincoln as a model of behavior.  Call this one the shot over the bow to Landrieu, so to speak.

What will the Union’s get out of this blood letting you may ask?  A lot more than you might otherwise think.  First of all, what they will have are far more hard core Union supporters.  Then they also achieve the “Don’t mess with us” message that people like Harry Reid can’t deliver.  Reid does not care as much for the Union agenda as he does his Democratic majority.  Thus, the only effective choice the Union’s have is to take out every Senator who opposed them and make sure those in office vote the way labor wants.

There is going to be a sea change as a result of this.  Short term it will help the Republicans.  But long term, it will make the Union’s stronger because the Democratic voice they will have in the Senate, when it comes to union issues, will all sing the same song and they WILL sing in key.


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