The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is headquartered across Lafayette Park from the White House. For the past eight years, the Chamber had open access to the Bush administration and called the shots. The group wanted less regulation — and got it. So, the Chamber had a big hand in creating today’s economic climate, which is a nightmare for most workers.
The Chamber is, no surprise, leading the opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. In this weekend’s Parade magazine, a top official with the Chamber explained the group’s opposition to that legislation:
Others contend that unions have outlived their usefulness. “The workplace is much better today,” says Michael Eastman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Employers know they need to offer certain benefits and good wages to keep good workers.”
It takes someone living in the bubble of the Chamber of Commerce to think the workplace is much better today. Compared to what? The days when there were no labor laws? The Chamber sets the policy for the Republicans on the Hill so it’s no wonder all those GOP knuckleheads don’t get the economic crisis.
The reality is that today’s workplace sucks for many workers — if they still even have their jobs. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Workers are not only losing their jobs, but their health care benefits. 401ks are tanking. But, the Chamber doesn’t want workers to organize. The Chamber and the Wall Street CEOs, working hand in hand with the Bush administration and the rest of the GOP, did enormous damage to the workplace. That crowd doesn’t want workers to have any kind of job security, which is exactly why workers need the ability to organize. And, unions don’t just help union members. They make life better for most workers:
Professor Clete Daniel, a labor expert at Cornell University, says a revived labor movement could benefit workers both in and out of unions. “ There is definitely a need for forces that promote a fairer sharing of wealth,” he says, noting that the gap between America’s rich and poor is the largest it’s been since 1928. Over the last 75 years, unions helped secure benefits like unemployment insurance, Social Security, and the 40-hour workweek.
Don’t for a second think that the Chamber, aided by its allies in the GOP, wouldn’t take that all away. Don’t for a second think they wouldn’t. That’s why they’re all so apoplectic about the Employee Free Choice Act. They think everything is just fine. And, they don’t want an even playing field for America’s working men and women.