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Gingrich Still Selling Out Working People

Posted Apr 22 2009 at 4:18 PM
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Newt Gingrich once peddled a “Contract with America” but he now wants to keep hard working Americans from getting meaningful contracts with their employers.  Despite the fact that Gingrich's political ideas have been soundly repudiated by American voters, he continues to peddle the same tired anti-worker rhetoric and insists on packaging it in a web of error and misconception.

In his abhorrent and incorrect assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act, the former Speaker echoes the same faulty claim heard in millions of dollars worth of attack ads sponsored by big business, Wall Street sympathizers, and their CEOs. The argument is that the Employee Free Choice Act distorts democracy by taking away the right to a secret ballot. That would be a great argument if it were only the truth.

The truth is, the Employee Free Choice Act gives employees a choice in deciding whether to go through the National Labor Relations Board election process or form a union-based on majority sign-up. Under the new law, this powerful choice would be in the workers’ hands…something the moguls of business and Mr. Gingrich don’t want.  One has to ask why they are so afraid of worker empowerment and basic democracy.

The process touted by EFCA opponents as “democratic” couldn't be less democratic. It is a system that allows employers to: distort information frequently saying that jobs will be lost if workers choose to unionize; intimidate employees with threats; fire workers who lead organizing efforts; and, ultimately, push endless delays in negotiating first contracts for employees who have rightfully elected to form a union.

EFCA makes this process more democratic, gives workers the power to choose how to decide if they want to form a union, and allows for a reasonable course of action should employers and employees be unable to agree to contract terms. Gingrich calls this dangerous and would rather see workers subjected to endless harassment and negotiation.

Gingrich beats another familiar conservative drum when he falsely blames the victim.  He uses the auto industry as an example of how unionization hurts industry and the economy. Why is it that executives that championed poor business plans and product development escape scrutiny but assembly line workers, simply doing the jobs they are asked to do, get blamed when the business model fails? Study after study shows that unionized industries and more heavily unionized geographic regions support a higher standard of living and worker security -- something we should all be working toward given the current economic situation.

Our great country was founded on the notion that empowering the many to fight against the tyranny of the powerful few is a fundamental right. Enough is enough from Gingrich and the rest of the anti-worker crowd. Your failed “contract” ran out long ago. It’s time for America’s workers to have the chance for a contract that they can depend on.

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