What can the left "trade off" to get labor law reform?
Organized labor's down to 7.4 percent of private sector workers. The big split, between the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, failed to bring on a new golden age of organizing. It seems the only hope is a new labor law.
And labor has a dream bill: the George Miller-authored "Employee Free Choice Act." It has more than a dozen Senate sponsors -- Kennedy, Clinton, Obama, all the party's big guns. It might really work. It would make U.S. labor law like Canada's, maybe even stronger. It would let employees get unions just by signing cards -- without having to run what can be a four- to five-year gauntlet of lawsuits, firings, intimidation, and all the bells and whistles of union-busting campaigns.
With John Sweeney as the new president of the
AFL-CIO, we now have a labor leader too militant for the New York Times.
The Times is partly upset because Sweeney's union, the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU), once blocked the Roosevelt Bridge in D.C., as part
of the Justice for Janitors Campaign. In Washington, this may be the one type of
gridlock that can get the country moving.