GOP Gives Employee Free Choice Act Fear-and-Smear Treatment

For anyone remotely paying attention, the Republican party playbook was remarkably minimalist and straightforward for the three or four years after America was attacked on September 11, 2001. Whenever Congressional Republicans got into a jam on almost any issue or found themselves legislatively backed into a corner, they would grab a microphone and yell "9/11, 9/11, 9/11" over and over again. Screaming "terrorists" or "al-Qaeda" repeatedly also worked pretty well until last November when voters saw the emptiness in all of that and tossed them out on their asses.

But apparently the GOP believes their prevailing mind-game of keeping Americans in a constant state of fear and anxiety can also translate into other venues and they're proving it lately with the Employee Free Choice Act (S.1041), which will be front and center in the Senate today.

S.1041, which is cosponsored by 46 Senators, is really pretty simple. It amends the National Labor Relations Act to allow employees to unionize in a more streamlined way if they choose and establishes stronger penalties for violations of the rights of workers seeking to form unions or negotiate first contracts.

Sounds like a good deal, right? The bill would make it easier for workers to get a living wage and decent benefits and, hey, this is America and everything, so who in the world would have a problem with that?

You guessed it -- the same crew that worked like crazy to keep the minimum wage at $5.15 an hour for the rest of our lives or until a Democratic Congress came to town and got a raise passed.

But what's interesting -- or not, if you're accustomed to watching the Republican party's fear-and-smear approach -- is how much concern GOP Senators suddenly seem to have for workers and how afraid they are that employees will lose their right to unionize via secret ballots. And of course, Republicans love to raise the possibility that these poor workers will also be subject to intimidation by big bad union bosses, hell-bent on forcing them into higher wages and better benefits.

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