Monday, December 18, 2006

John Edwards on Unions

Bonddad is a Democrat. Considering I have written for Daily Kos for the last 2 years, that shouldn't be a surprise. Clinton balanced the budget and grew the economy at the same time. 'Nuff said.

Bonddad supports unions. In a recovery where wages are stagnant after inflation, health care is rationed to those who can pay, college education is more and more out-of-reach of people and a whole host of other problems -- some organization has to speak for employees. That is where unions come in. Taylor Marsh did some great on-the-ground reporting of the recent nurses strike in Las Vega. Her blog link is below.

Consider this your full-disclosure moment.

by Taylor Marsh

Some time between Christmas and the New Year John Edwards is going to announce his run for the '08 presidency. I've not picked any candidate yet, but this certainly seems like a good time to share and discuss a recent appearance of Edwards on "Hardball," which I've been writing and talking about lately. It's particularly interesting given my recent SEIU sponsored coverage on the Las Vegas nurses strike.

There's a reason John Edwards is way ahead of the Democratic presidential pack in a recent Iowa poll, and even leads John McCain in a national trial heat. Edwards is reaching people on issues that impact a segment of this country that have been left behind by Mr. Bush: the middle class.

Democratic populism is back, baby. Just in time, if you ask me.

Senator-elect James Webb talked about it during the campaign, then offered a stunning piece on "class struggle" in the Wall Street Journal after the election.

Senator-elect Sherrod Brown ran on it. His next target is BigPharma.

So did Senator-elect Claire McCaskill, as did Senator-elect Jon Tester.

So having Edwards up front and center on the subject simply takes their 2006 campaigns to the next logical level.

Edwards is on a roll. He's got his patter down on Iraq. He's got Elizabeth Edwards next to him, which is a secret campaign weapon as far as I'm concerned. But when he starts talking about poverty, the middle class and how to fix the problem, that's when his rhetoric meets the road.

Card check is just one part of the union story that Edwards favors. What is it? It's part of the Employee Free Choice Act, which has a lot of support in Congress already. There's more about from PaulVA's Kos diary. No doubt the "National Right to Work" people will fight it.

Edwards nailed the subject on "Hardball" recently. The YouTube video is here.

MATTHEWS: Are you for the card check?
J. EDWARDS: I am for the card check.
MATTHEWS: You think that's fair to be able to have four people from a
labor union, big people come up to a little person and say you're going to vote
for the union, aren't you? You're going to vote for the union, aren't you?
Today the law says you have to have a big meeting and everybody has to be
there to vote for the union. You're saying--the card check says all you need is
51 percent of the people to be individually talked into signing a card and you
think that's OK.
J. EDWARDS: I think it's democracy. I do.
MATTHEWS: But not having an election?
J. EDWARDS: It's democracy because what happens is
the way the system has been loaded up is the employers bring in these union
busters who are exerts at busting the union. They sometimes violate the law. The
way the enforcement works is almost nonexistent. Three or four years down the
road there's a slap on the wrist. All I want is I want to see a level
playing field. If employees want to join a union, democratically they ought to
be able to do that. If they don't, they can choose not to.
MATTHEWS: OK, the average person is working at the mill, they're working on the job and they're on the machine, and four guys come up to them, big guys, they go up and say sign this card, we want to start a union here. And that little person goes I'd rather not. You'd rather not? Isn't that kind of intimidating for a person?
J. EDWARDS: But why would you assume it's the fellow employees who are going to
MATTHEWS: Because it's the outside labor organizations.
J. EDWARDS: ... them instead of the guy who's writing their check?
MATTHEWS: Because if they international union guys come in. I'm asking you a question. Do you think that shows independence our your part, or the fact that you're in bed with labor.
J. EDWARDS: I think it shows that I am a complete believer in workers having a voice and being able to collectively bargain. I don't think we have a problem in America with big, multinational corporations being able to have their voice heard. Their voice is heard loud and clear.

Hardball transcripts (emphasis added)

I joined my first union before I was 20. Subsequently, I ended up joining four performance unions. They made a real difference in my life. Currently, I'm on honorary withdrawal from them all, but I haven't forgotten their importance. The recent SEIU nurse lock-out in Las Vegas drove it home.

John Edwards is talking about something that matters, not only to people struggling, but to the entire American way of life. As the middle class goes so goes this country. With the new Congress elected and so many populists now in office, John Edwards is telling a tale that will have many people jumping on board; mainly because they're already waiting for that train to visit their state.

This is going to get interesting.

- Taylor Marsh LIVE! can be heard from 6-7 pm eastern - 3-4 p.m pacific, Mon.-Thurs, with podcasts available.