Franken co-sponsors bill making it easier to unionize

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than a day after Al Franken was sworn-in as Minnesota’s junior U.S. senator, the Democrat announced that he was co-sponsoring his first bill — the Employee Free Choice Act, according to the National Journal.

“As of about a half an hour ago, I became the co-sponsor of my first piece of legislation in the Senate,” the National Journal reported that Franken told a Tuesday evening gathering at the AFL-CIO headquarters. “And it’s something called the Employee Free Choice Act.”

The Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize, has become a divisive issue in Congress with lawmakers mostly splitting along party lines.

The bill has been stalled in the Senate because supporters have struggled to corral the needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Franken, however, could now be pivotal in helping to move the legislation forward.

A member of four unions himself, Franken told the audience that “it is more than fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t have won,” according to the National Journal.

Then, joking about his slim 312-vote victory, Franken said, “Of course, you can say that about a lot of people.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/08/2009 - 09:15 am.

    Seated through the disenfranchisement of the voting public, Franken’s first order of business is to crush secret ballot voting in favor of intimidation and thuggery in the workplace.

    Oh yeah, you’ve *really* found yourselves a winner kids.

  2. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 07/08/2009 - 12:36 pm.

    Need to get those legal fees paid.

  3. Submitted by John Roach on 07/08/2009 - 01:38 pm.

    Debating real flaws about EFCA would be entertaining, but debunking already discredited anti-union talking points is tedious, so I’ll be as brief as possible:

    1. To organize a Union today, cards still have to be signed and counted. Then the employer demands a “secret ballot”. THEN the intimidation starts. I guarantee I can provide many, many documented examples of employer intimidation for any example of Union intimidation that someone might come up with.

    2. Under EFCA, nothing changes EXCEPT if the card tally is 50 percent plus one, then the employer can no longer DEMAND a secret ballot. The election has already been held and the Union won. No second, do-over election is necessary.

    If the card tally is below 30 percent, the Union lost. The end. This is the same as it is now.

    Between 30 and 50 percent, there WILL be a secret ballot election. Workers are guaranteed it. It is required by the legislation. It would be nice if this cleared the matter up once and for all, but who am I kidding?

    Franken is going to do a great job as Senator; he really believes in the things that most Minnesotans do. He will win 2014 in a walk.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/08/2009 - 03:33 pm.

    How can someone intimidate workers that are assured of a secret ballot? How would they know who to lean on and who to leave be?

    Conversely, if some union thug steps up and shoves a ballot into your face and says “sign this”, they’ll know just who to come see later.

    A five year old child can see this is a bald faced attempt to bolster a sagging union membership through undemocratic means (“Yes son, the secret ballot used to be a cornerstone of our Democracy.”) and brute force.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/08/2009 - 04:00 pm.

    Better yet, why don’t I just let a lifelong Democrat explain it.

    “My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots”

    ~ By George McGovern

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121815502467222555.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    …”The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.”

    Read that again: “There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.”

    “Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.”

    “To my friends supporting EFCA I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.”

    Once again:

    “To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  6. Submitted by John Roach on 07/08/2009 - 05:11 pm.

    ‘Nuff said? Heh.

    I don’t think that’s your call, Mr. Swift.

    As I promised, even though you failed to provide even a single example of a real union thug intimidating a poor worker (although I enjoyed your hypothetical scenario-it was really scary!), here is something that is a little more reality-based:

    “A new study by a Cornell University professor of 1,004 union organizing drives has found that employers threatened to close plants in 57 percent of the campaigns and threatened to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent.

    The study, to be released Wednesday, also found that employers fired pro-union workers in 34 percent of the campaigns. And it asserted that management’s antiunion tactics had helped pushed down the unionization rate to 12.4 percent, from 22 percent three decades ago…”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/business/20labor.html?_r=3

    I’m sure that what George McGovern thinks has always been very important to you. Be sure to call all the Democrats in congress and inform them that George disagrees with them. It’s your duty to the American Worker.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

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