As key senators have announced that they are not planning to support the Employee Free Choice Act, labor leaders put on a brave face, saying they have every intention of finding the needed 60 votes and that it is premature to start talking about alternatives to the bill.Gang, I told you way back in February that Our Glorious Maximum Leader's dedication to seeing EFCA come to passage was considerably less than 100%. This is only the beginning of the SEIU-led walkback away from EFCA, because the Purple Plague knows exactly what would happen to them if EFCA became law here in Hotel California.
But in an interview today, Andy Stern, head of the influential Service Employees International Union, stepped gently away from that unified front, raising the prospect of reforms that would overhaul union elections without giving workers the option of organizing sans secret ballot elections.
The legislation now before Congress, dubbed "card check," would let workers organize if a majority in a workplace sign pro-union cards; as it stands, employers require secret ballot elections. Unions say elections are marred by employer intimidation; employers say going with card-check -- what the unions call "majority sign up" -- would expose workers to union pressure.
Speaking to The Post's editorial board, Stern noted that there are ways to try to level the playing field in union elections without giving workers a way around the secret ballot requirement, such as shortening the window before elections are held -- thus giving employers less time to pressure workers -- and stiffening penalties for employer violations.
That's probably also why they are installing the "authorization shall be irrevocable" language on the Workers United signup cards - as sort of a hedge against EFCA-style organization.
I'd like to say I was surprised at this turn of events, but when dealing with SEIU it has been routinely demonstrated that the more cynical you are, the more likely it is you will be able to predict the outcome of events where SEIU is concerned.