Apr
29

Asheville Chamber of Commerce Against Employee Free Choice Act

By

efcaI’m in favor of expanding organized labor’s ability to fight for higher wages, workplace safety, and family-friendly benefits. The Asheville Chamber of Commerce? Not so much.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has new website dedicated to legislative action. It’s a good looking site, and progressives could really use something similar. You can experience Act For Asheville‘s user-friendly utility at their top legislative agenda item:

“The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a.k.a. “Card Check” poses a huge threat for business.”

For years the US Chamber of Commerce has been hammering Heath Shuler for his support of EFCA. They’ve put millions of dollars into fighting against this legislation. The Chamber is known for spending more money than any other lobbying organization on a yearly basis.  On the other side of the coin, the AFL-CIO has been pouring millions into seeing EFCA pass. Stewart Acuff at Huffington Post writes:

The Labor Movement is determined to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to restore the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain collectively, to end 30 years of stagnant and declining wages, to strengthen and deepen the middle class and to end the corporate assault on workers when they try to form unions.

Corporations and their right wing allies want to preserve an increasingly untenable status quo: union busting, rampant retaliation against workers trying to organize, the greatest inequity in the U.S. since 1929, a declining and shrinking middle class, an economic crisis created in part by a severe lack of consumer demand, growing poverty, and a severe health care crisis

Open Secrets:

Business PACs not only gave nearly five times more in campaign contributions than labor PACs did in the last election cycle ($365.1 million versus $77.9 million, including contributions to leadership PACs) they are backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $144.4 million on lobbying efforts in the 2007-2008 election cycle, or more than $400,000 for every day Congress was in session.

Given all the blowback from the Asheville Chamber’s endorsement of I-26 Connector Alternative 3, it’s somewhat surprising to see them putting their public face on this issue. Chamber members who pay their dues are subsidizing the fight against workers’ rights whether they like it or not.

To contact your legislators in support of EFCA copy and paste these emails:

Senator_Hagan@hagan.senate.gov, andrew.whalen@mail.house.gov (Shuler’s office)

Senator Burr doesn’t have a direct email addy listed, so use his contact form instead.

Comments

  1. Tim Peck says:

    I agree with the Chamber of Commerce. George Reisman makes the case against card check.

  2. Doug Gibson says:

    Do these folks get tax money to produce this kind of propaganda? And way to go, Keith Thomson – you left the CoC ship early, and it looks more and more like the right thing to do.

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    Oh, and Tim, EFCA does not remove access to a secret ballot election, as Mr. Reisman states (along with the CoC). Right now, of course, employers can impose card check on workers seeking to unionize, and this just allows the union access to the same tool. Also, if at least 30% of workers in a workplace request an election proper, then they’ll get it. Oh, and the names of those who sign authorization cards are kept confidential, so card check is a lot like a secret ballot already.

    But Reisman’s right – higher wages reduce the number of employees someone can hire, which is one of the problems with obscenely large executive compensation packages. EFCA, and unionization in general, serves as a corrective to the trend in which labor is left unrewarded by increases in productivity.

    Finally, though, did I miss something? Coercion is always a back-up threat if people decline to voluntarily obey the law. Is Reisman saying that collective bargaining is the only case in which coercion comes into play, or is he just not a big fan of civil society in general?

  4. Bryan Freeborn says:

    I would like to know when they are going to start asking their dues paying members like myself before taking stands like this and I-26.

  5. RHS586 says:

    I would like to know when they are going to start asking their dues paying members like myself before taking stands like this and I-26.

    That’s a rhetorical question, right?

  6. Bryan Freeborn, that is exactly the question I was wondering. As a dues paying member of the Asheville CoC, I am wondering when they will ask the stance of people such as ourselves before making their own stand ~ which represents us. I am wondering if I will have to leave the Chamber ultimately in order not to be represented unfairly.