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Jan 2nd the WSJ had an interesting piece suggesting that a Dem majority might keep card check at bay. While that might seem like an oxymoron of sorts, the op-ed did raise some thought-provoking points and suggested that the specter of card check actually passing might keep some former supporters at bay.
Responsibility has a way of focusing the mind.
Take Mark Pryor, Democratic senator from Arkansas. In 2007, Mr. Pryor voted to move card check, Big Labor's No. 1 priority. And why not? Mr. Pryor knew the GOP would block the bill, which gets rid of secret ballots in union elections. Besides, his support helped guarantee labor wouldn't field a challenger to him in the primary.
Postelection, Mr. Pryor isn't so committed. He's indicated he wouldn't co-sponsor the legislation again. He says he'd like to find common ground between labor and business. He is telling people the bill isn't on a Senate fast-track, anyway. His business community, which has nimbly whipped up anti-card-check sentiment across his right-to-work state, is getting a more polite hearing.
The piece also noted the significant grassroots force that has been excellent about getting out in front of card check, educating the public about the issues at stake and even worse, the ultimate injustice of taking away the right to secret ballot.
"In the past, unions would show up in force on the ground while the business community would send someone in a suit up to Capitol Hill. This time, we pushed hard at the grass-roots level and lit a fire under this issue." Those grass roots have targeted senators like Mr. Pryor and Mrs. Lincoln. Business also spent millions airing ads about card check during the presidential campaign, a prime time to educate voters.
It's way too early to break out the party pants, LaborPains.org has House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Fox News yesterday saying the bill would come up in early spring, but it's nice to see a few cracks in the glass house.
With unions bleeding members and union-dominated sectors going down the tubes, it is increasingly more important for Sen. Obama to deliver this post-election thank you gift to his labor overlords. Because members aren't the only thing unions are bleeding - they're losing money hand over fist on resorts, bad investments, and perks for top brass. Michelle Malkin outlines the waste here in "The UAW's Money-Squandering Corruptocracy."
In May and November 2007, the UAW forked over nearly $53,000 for union staff meetings at the Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, Mo. In September 2007, the UAW dropped another $5,000 at the Lakes of Taylor Golf Club in Taylor, Mich., and another $9,000 at the Thunderbird Hills Golf Club in Huron, Ohio. Another bill for $5,772 showed up for the Branson, Mo., golf resort. On Oct. 26, 2007, the union spent $5,000 on another "golf outing" in Detroit. In May and June 2007, UAW bosses spent nearly $11,000 on a golf tournament and related expenses at the Hawthorne Hill Country Club in Lima, Ohio. And in April 2007, the UAW spent $12,000 for a charity golf sponsorship in Dearborn, Mich. In August 2007, the UAW paid nearly $10,000 to its for-profit Black Lake golf course operator, UBG, for something itemized as "Golf 2007 Summer School." UBG had nearly $4.4 million worth of outstanding loans from the union. Another for-profit entity that runs the education center, UBE, had nearly $20 million in outstanding loans from the union.
The UAW needs a way to fast track some more members to get their hands on those dues - or get a bailout.