By David Moberg
In These Times
Workers and Corporate America battle over the Employee Free Choice Act.
‘We like driving the car, and we’re not going to give the steering wheel to anybody but us,’ outgoing Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said, when asked about the Employee Free Choice Act.
As President Obama and a more solidly Democratic Congress get down to work, their first priority will be dealing with three decades of fiscal mismanagement. The destruction of government as a stabilizing force—along with financial deregulation, corporate globalization and wealth redistribution to the rich—have led to the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This great 30-year shift in wealth, power and public priorities coincided with—and was in large part caused by—the decline of a labor movement under assault from corporations and right-wing ideologues.
No single remedy will fix all that ails America, nor is any strategy likely to succeed if it does not give working people more power over their jobs. A renaissance for labor could ensure that workers share in the growth of their productivity and provide the stimulus of consumer demand that the economy will need for a sustained recovery. Consequently, one of the most critical political battles this year will be the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Passed by the House but filibustered in the Senate in 2007, the act would make it easier for workers to form unions.
With government deadline for concession deal approaching
Automakers, UAW move to create low-wage workforce
By Jerry White
6 February 2009
General Motors and Chrysler have offered buyouts and early retirement packages to their entire combined workforce of 89,000 hourly workers in a move aimed at ridding the industry of higher-paid veteran workers and replacing them with new hires making half the wages.
The buyouts, which are being carried out with the full participation of the United Auto Workers union, is in line with the automakers agreement to drastically reduce labor costs in exchange for $17.4 billion in emergency loans from the Treasury Department.
As the February 17 deadline approaches for the automakers to conclude cost-cutting deals with the union—as part of the “viability” plans they must submit to the Obama administration—the UAW is keeping its members in the dark. The union bureaucracy has issued no public statements on its talks with the auto makers, which began in mid-January.
Auto bailout for whom? Pt 1
Sam Gindin: By conceding to the companies, auto unions are absorbing the blame for the industry crisis
Auto bailout for whom? Pt. 2
Gindin: The problem with autoworkers absorbing wage cuts is that it sets the standard for others
Auto bailout for whom? Pt. 3
Gindin: At what point are people going to fight back?
Auto bailout for whom? Pt. 4
Gindin: The Employee Free Choice Act could open up new ways of organizing