Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
look for the union labelA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The Employee Free Choice Act has been gutted and may expire entirely, a victim of Barack Obama's signature style of governing to the Right of the Democratic center. “Although candidate Obama paid lip-service to the Employee Free Choice Act, he pointedly failed to deploy the powers of the presidential 'bully-pulpit' on behalf of the key “card check” provisions that would have forced companies to recognize unions as soon as a majority of workers signed a union card.”
 
Another Obama Promise Broken -- The Right To Organize Betrayed
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“He eviscerates the labor and progressive agenda by withholding crucial White House support for measures he nominally endorses.”
The “card check” portion of the Employee Free Choice Act appears dead, yet more proof that a promise from Barack Obama is essentially worthless.
The word “transformational” should be purged from any discussion of the Obama presidency, as should any positive comparison between Obama and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If FDR’s presidency can be summed up in a few words, it was a period in which the power of labor was greatly enhanced in effective partnership with the man in the White House, while a safety net was established that allowed working people the security to exercise those new powers.
Barack Obama seeks something quite different: an accommodation that leaves labor at an extreme disadvantage with the vastly expanded powers of finance capital and management, while the social safety net objectively ceases to exist. Such is the clear result and intent of Obama’s grossly lopsided actions – not words, but actions – during his first six months in office. Of the nearly $13 trillion committed to economic resuscitation since the financial meltdown, most of it under President Obama, 90 percent has gone to buttress the bankers, while unemployment and home foreclosures combine to wipe out all vestiges of security for the rest of us.
“He has methodically empowered the right-wing of the Democratic Party as arbiters of federal legislation.”
President Obama has been an active player in this debacle. He has methodically empowered the right-wing of the Democratic Party as arbiters of federal legislation. As with health care, Obama signals loudly that he prefers to avoid confrontation with capital, thus giving the nod to those Democrats politically closest to Republicans that they are free to seek compromises with Big Business at the expense of Democratic constituencies. Although candidate Obama paid lip-service to the Employee Free Choice Act, he pointedly failed to deploy the powers of the presidential “bully-pulpit” on behalf of the key “card check” provisions that would have forced companies to recognize unions as soon as a majority of workers signed a union card. Effectively, and purposely, that allowed a handful of right-wing Democrats to conspire with Republicans to kill card check, while President Obama pretends the outcome was none of his doing.
Accepting defeat, and fearing to antagonize Obama by laying it at his feet, where it belongs, labor leaders now concentrate on salvaging other parts of the legislation, such as binding arbitration and streamlining the union election process. Unfortunately, Obama has privileged the same gaggle of Democratic right-wingers to handle negotiations to keep some portions of the Employee Free Choice Act alive in the Senate.
The presidential pattern is unmistakable; in fact, it has become Obama’s governing signature. He eviscerates the labor and progressive agenda by withholding crucial White House support for measures he nominally endorses, and then passes de facto leadership to the most backward elements of the Democratic Party. The conclusion is inescapable: Barack Obama is the most active and critical member of the right wing of his party. With Obama at the helm, “card check” never had a chance.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com
Direct download: 20090722_gf_cardcheck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20am EDT