Feeding the Crocodile - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Feeding the Crocodile

It has long been obvious that among the greatest enemies of capitalism are the alleged capitalists.  Corporate America is one of the least constant defenders of the market economy, ever ready to sell out the system.  Businessmen constantly request subsidies and bail-outs, as we have seen in recent months.  Similarly, some companies may be preparing to back organized labor’s “card check” bill, which would allow union acitivists to initimidate their way to victory without a secret ballot election.

The measure actually is in political trouble, since the vast majority of union members support letting workers vote.  Moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill don’t want to appear to be in Big Labor’s hip pocket, no matter what President Obama or Speaker Pelosi want.  But now several large businesses may be ready to feed the crocodile, apparently in hopes that it will be satiated.  Reports the Wall Street Journal:

Three big retailers are expected to back an alternative proposal next week on a hotly contested bill that would make it easier to unionize workplaces, a move some experts said would bolster the legislation’s chance of passage.

Costco Wholesale Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Whole Foods Market Inc. are supporting the alternative proposal, according to someone familiar with the effort. Ray Krupin, a management labor lawyer in Washington said the most likely compromise would allow employees to unionize if 70% of them sign union-authorization cards, as opposed to 50% as currently proposed in the Employee Free Choice Act.

On Saturday, a person close to the discussions denied that the proposal backed by the three companies included a plan to let unions organize workers if 70% sign cards.

It’s unclear whether the proposal addresses a thorny section of the bill that would have a government arbitrator draw up a contract if unions and companies can’t agree to terms within 120 days.

“We have had conversations with like-minded companies and are open to exploring alternative solutions to the legislation as it is currently written,” said Deb Trevino, a spokeswoman for Starbucks.

Libba Letton, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods, said, “We’ve been having conversations with other companies that have the same outlook that we do. We’ve been talking to them about finding fair alternatives.”

A Costco representative couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A person close to the companies said the proposal will be fair to all sides.

Of course:  “fair to all sides.”  As Washington defines fair.

In fact, the measure is no compromise:  labor activists admit that they have to surpass the 70 percent level to have a 50/50 shot at winning an election.  These companies would sacrifice workers’ rights for a mess of pottage.  And capitulating to labor activists who have developed an entire agenda for politicizing the economy would be well-nigh suicidal.

As Lenin reportedly said:  “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”  Yet again one has to wonder:  can capitalism survive the capitalists?

(Hat tip to Brian Faughnan at RedState.)

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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