George McGovern: Stop Card Check

posted at 8:35 am on August 8, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern has become a tough man to pigeonhole these days. Once the champion of the New Left vanguard that seized control of the Democratic Party in the late 60s and early 70s, McGovern has evolved towards his conservative South Dakota roots, at least to some degree. Earlier this year, he wrote about his embrace of personal responsibility after joining the private sector and realizing how an out-of-control government winds up infanticizing its citizens. Now he has taken aim at the unions that once supported him, scolding Democrats for championing a measure which strips the secret ballot from union organizing elections:

As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I’ve participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn’t always win, but I always respected the process.

Voting is an immense privilege.

That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

McGovern offers his respect and support for unions, both in their historic role in developing better working conditions and their contemporary role in representing workers, but remains firm in his opposition to the EFCA.  He also points out that Democratic Party leaders such as Barney Frank and Pete Stark have gone abroad to insist on secret ballots for organizing elections in other countries.  Why do secret ballots hold so much importance for foreign workers, but none for Americans?.

That answer should be obvious.  In areas where workers face real workplace dangers and exploitation, unions enjoy popularity among workers — and they need the secret ballot to protect workers from the owners.  In the US, the exact opposite is true.  Thanks in large part to the efforts of unions decades ago, workplace safety issues have disappeared in most industries, as well as overtime exploitation and so on.   Workers have much less motivation to join unions in the US as a result.

Now, workers need the secret ballot to protect themselves from both the owners and the unions themselves.  Unions have lost power and money due to the decline in membership over the last few decades, and they are desperate to regain both.  Democrats, who benefit overwhelmingly from the political power of unions, want to help them organize even if they have to sell out Americans to do it.  Both the unions and the Democrats have conspired, therefore, to strip Americans of secret ballots in order to allow intimidation by unions to influence organizing elections.

McGovern kindly avoids pointing this out, probably thinking he’s already gone far enough with this WSJ column.  He does warn that the Democrats may not have had enough discussion of the EFCA’s “ramifications”, but those consequences seem obvious and redound to the benefit of the party — at the expense of workers, freedom, and the nation.  It’s a sell-out, and McGovern shows some character by refusing to sit silently and watch it happen.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Hey Ed, do a post about these liberal fascist brownshirts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/us/politics/08donate.html

ninjapirate on August 8, 2008 at 8:37 AM

It’s no wonder unions are held in such universal opprobrium.

GeneSmith on August 8, 2008 at 8:45 AM

I don’t do business with unions, refuse to.

Besides, I don’t like having to pay twice the rate for half the work.

And if I feel like donating to the DNC, I’ll do it directly.

NoDonkey on August 8, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Very interesting that Barney Franks wants
to know how somebody votes,especially in a
union!

I thought Liberals were compassionate to
the little guy,but I guess not!

Now if someone knows how you voted in your union,
then you can be identified,labeled,then harassed,
seems pretty unAmerican for the Democrats to persue
this thats for sure!

canopfor on August 8, 2008 at 8:50 AM

And if I feel like donating to the DNC, I’ll do it directly.

For hundreds of thousands of Americans, paying union dues is donating directly to the DNC.
If you’re doing that, you have a right to ask for a refund of the portion of your dues that goes to political spending, per the Supreme Court’s Beck decision.

jgapinoy on August 8, 2008 at 8:56 AM

Labor unions and similar pseudo communist organizations are great friends, supporters and benefactors of the Democrats. The party of the left will use any and all forms of coercion to sustain these organizations and retain the votes that emanate from their blind, compliant rank and file.

rplat on August 8, 2008 at 9:12 AM

jgapinoy, unfortunately that’s not always a realistic option. I’ve seen it here where I work, where our factory workers are (mandatory) union members. If you did make such a request, the union would find ways to tie that return up in so much red tape and bullshit that you’d probably never see a dime of it anyway. And in the process, you’d become known as a “problem”… and that’s never a good position to be in if you plan to keep working at that, or any other similar job for very long.

E1701 on August 8, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Workers can have lots of reasons for not supporting a specific union, and wanting to exercise their individual non-support in private. McGovern is old enough to remember the big-city trade unions of the 1950s, when one good reason for not supporting your union was that they were run by organized crime like a private investment club.

RBMN on August 8, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Seriously, how could he NOT be against this. Clearly, McGovern can’t do the moral/ethical gymnastics that is required to be a member of the modern Democrat party — and I think he knows it.

Hypocrisy is hard to maintain for some folks. Others? Not so much

Rational Thought on August 8, 2008 at 9:20 AM

During the 20th century, the purpose of the union gradually morphed from protecting the worker to protecting the union. Now the worker becomes the enemy of the union if he doesn’t accede to its demands.

whitetop on August 8, 2008 at 9:27 AM

I question the timing.

Has McGovern had just about enough of hearing people call Obama “McGovern without the patriotism”? Maybe he’s just reminding those too young to remember that he was a liberal, not a leftist like this socialist douche.

Heh.

Jaibones on August 8, 2008 at 9:31 AM

I can`t wait for my “polite visit” from a union offical at the warehouse. I`m sorry to say I`d have to give in, I have a family depending on me and I can`t risk losing my job or safety.

ThePrez on August 8, 2008 at 9:32 AM

McCain/McGovern ’08!!!

Akzed on August 8, 2008 at 9:37 AM

EFCA is such a waste of space. Workers can already reveal their voting habits. They can tell anyone they want. Voting privacy is absolutely vital to the Republic.

If you want to tell people how you voted in a primary, do so.
If you want to tell people how you voted in a general, do so.
If you want to tell people how you voted in a union race, do so.

Just don’t force anyone to reveal their private voting habits. How the heck are elected officials getting support the EFCA?

gabriel sutherland on August 8, 2008 at 9:46 AM

“They’re not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left,” Mr. LaCivita said.

Wry catch ninjapirate… and just watch the panic set in on Dem side as they begin to realize, again, that haughty, nuanced elites cannot be elected as a Prez in America… even with the McCarthyite tactics of the goons described in article you linked.

Loon left… have you no shame??

Shivas Irons on August 8, 2008 at 9:51 AM

I was a union member a long time ago. Pay was solely determined by years of service. Productivity wasn’t a factor. The senior guys typically did nothing and were essentially useless due to lack of experience since they hadn’t been working the last few years. They had stories, however, about things they “used to do.” The “grunts” did all the work.

perroviejo on August 8, 2008 at 9:52 AM

wow, a little more of this and I might actually start to respect the guy

urbancenturion on August 8, 2008 at 10:01 AM

During the eighties, my company was at a trade show in a union town. We had a package delivered to the convention center. We went down stairs to get the package and was told that the package would have to be unloaded by a union member. Once the package was unloaded, the guy unloading it gave it to another guy to take it to the elevator, who gave it to another guy to take it up the elevator, who gave it to another guy to take to our display. It cost us sixty five dollars.

Johan Klaus on August 8, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Voting is an immense privilege.

Hey, thanks for the privilege, I think though that I’ll stick with our Constitutional voting rights, thanks anyway.

but those consequences seem obvious and redound to the benefit of the party — at the expense of workers, freedom, and the nation. It’s a sell-out

SOP liberals.

Speakup on August 8, 2008 at 10:21 AM

On some domestic issues, McGovern has strayed from his leftist positions that he took in his 1972 presidential campaign. But on one issue, McGovern has gotten even worse. On the MiddleEast, McGovern has taken a far left position that is not any different from Michael Moore or Ken Livingston. McGovern is fanatically antiIsrael, even claiming that most immigrants from Russia who came to Israel want to return to Russia. He actually claimed that most immigrants who came to Israel from Russia realized what a bad place Israel is. If McGovern is right about his claim, all of those immigrants are free to return to Russia. Most have not. Life in a new country is never a bed of roses for immigrants. But McGovern was willing to use the common difficulties of being an immigrant as a tool of antiIsrael propaganda.
What McGovern really resented about Israel is that Israel refuses to be a pacifist country that submits to its enemies. On foreign policy, McGovern remains an apostle of Neville Chamberlain.

Larraby on August 8, 2008 at 10:38 AM

wow, a little more of this and I might actually start to respect the guy
urbancenturion on August 8, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Maturity brings wisdom. I guess that it is refreshing to realize that sometimes people do become adults.

The National Education Association (NEA) has played the PAC shakedown for years. Dues money towards it and state education associations might as well go directly to Democrat coffers. Your hair would curl if you would read the amendments included at their conventions. They contort and distort all issues into ones relating to education.

They also use members’ names to distribute campaign literature for Leftist causes and groups, DNC talking points, and Democrat candidates. (How do I know? By how my mail was addressed. Just a little adjustment in your name reveals quite a bit about who has sold your name.)

onlineanalyst on August 8, 2008 at 10:43 AM

If you are 18 and not a liberal, you have no heart.

If you are 30 and not a Conservative, you have no brain.

Just took McGovern a bit longer to develop a brain.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Has it occurred to anyone else that he is seeking consistency for his party? How can dems oppose secret ballots for union elections, and at the same time oppose ID checks for congressional elections?

Think_b4_speaking on August 8, 2008 at 11:26 AM

For 25+ years I was a member of the NEA and they helped me out a couple of times in disputes with administration about sick leave and such. I willingly joined back then. But if a Union cannot prove itself useful enough to its membership that it has to resort to tacit co-ercion to keep members, then it has outlived its usefulness and negated its reason to exist. It sounds as if this has happened.

jeanie on August 8, 2008 at 11:45 AM

George McGovern was a nobody yesterday, and is a nobody today.

byteshredder on August 8, 2008 at 11:51 AM

This is a dramatic demonstration that “Murphy’s Law” has a good side:

“You can’t be wrong 100% of the time no matter how hard you try”

(you’ll always foul up and do the right thing sometimes)

landlines on August 8, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Who is an enthusiastic co-sponsor of this legislation? Isn’t it Barry Obama? Or is it his “Patriot Corporations Act” where one indication of a coroporation’s “patriotism” is whether it will submit itself to card check unionization?

McGovern sees a huge, glaring problem for Barry O, and he’s ttrying to give him and the party a heads up.

funky chicken on August 8, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I question the timing.

Has McGovern had just about enough of hearing people call Obama “McGovern without the patriotism”? Maybe he’s just reminding those too young to remember that he was a liberal, not a leftist like this socialist douche.

Heh.

Jaibones on August 8, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Hmmmm. You might have a point.

funky chicken on August 8, 2008 at 12:32 PM

George McGovern was a nobody yesterday, and is a nobody today.

byteshredder on August 8, 2008 at 11:51 AM

.
I disagree. McGovern was a bomber pilot over Europe in WWII, I think pulling a double tour. I don’t question his patriotism. Sure, he lost a presidential election by one of the worst EV margins ever, but he didn’t change his policies daily per the latest polls to try and make his numbers look better. He has some very strange politics, and I disagree with him 99% of the time, but at least I can respect him, unlike some other dem presidential candidates that spring to mind.

Think_b4_speaking on August 8, 2008 at 12:48 PM

There are a lot of things over the years wherein I haven’t agreed with McGovern, but I’ve always felt he was an honorable man and one rarely, if ever, untrue to the core beliefs of our country’s founding. He’s again shown that I am not wrong in that opinion. He’s not only a benefit to our continuing national conversation but also a worthy opponent.

Dusty on August 8, 2008 at 1:48 PM

mcgovern did what??? now I know the end is near….

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma believes that card check is one of the BIGGEST THREATS to Tribal Sovereignty:

http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com/2008/09/will-democrats-help-erode-tribal.html

Now a past Democratic Presidential nominee agrees.

The LAZINESS of Unions hurts them, and America

originalpechanga on October 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM