Martin bought into letting the Employee Free Choice Act become a campaign issue. Of all issues he could have chosen to champion, why this one in Ga.?
As I wrote in a 8-1-08 post, I am opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act.
This Wall Street Journal article about this controversial bill that would make it easier for unions to sign up new members that has intensified as the economy declines discusses how business and industry groups say the legislation will lead to massive job losses and hobble the economy, while labor groups argue that it will give a historic boost to the middle class.
InsiderAdvantage Georgia notes this:
A controversial bill making it easier for employees to unionize took a back seat to the personalities in the presidential campaigns.
But an effort is under way to propel the federal Employee Free Choice Act to the forefront of issues separating Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin as they compete for votes in the run-up to the Dec. 2 runoff.
The union-backed measure, which President-elect Barack Obama said he would sign, would permit labor unions to represent a company's workers if a majority sign an authorization petition. It could also eliminate the practice of secret ballots employees have traditionally cast to join unions.
Ironically, Georgia -- where unions have never had strong footing -- could be key to the act's fate.
A win by Martin -- and by Al Franken in Minnesota, where a recount is under way -- would give Democrats a 60-vote supermajority that could bust up a Republican filibuster, which stopped a vote on the act in June 2007, two months after it cleared the U.S. House.
But a Chambliss runoff victory would give the Republicans a crucial vote they need to again prevent the act from coming up for a vote.
The act's opponents, who are rallying behind Chambliss, say removing the secret ballot process will lead to coercion and intimidation of employees who do not want to join a union.
Martin's campaign said passage of the act would help create good-paying jobs for Georgia families.
"The Employee Free Choice Act simply protects the right of Georgia workers to organize free of intimidation from any employers," Martin campaign spokeswoman Kate Hensen said in an e-mail.
A federal mediator could intervene and set a two-year labor contract if employees and the employer are unable to reach an agreement.
State Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, said that could cripple employers in the midst of the worst economy the nation has seen in decades.
"This could really put a damper on the effort we are making to really try to turn this around," Rogers said.