Idgit Watch

“Third Way” Progressive lawyer Lanny Davis leads effort to “level the playing field” for union access; frightened corporations ready to sign up

Posted by danishova on March 22, 2009

Yesterday we learned that D.C. labor lawyer Jay Krupin, has a nifty “compromise” in the works, which I wrote about here:

Krupin’s compromise plan — known as the 70-50-30 proposal — would allow employees to organize without a secret ballot if 70 percent of workers sign cards. If only 50 percent sign cards, there would be a quick election within 15 days instead of the usual minimum of 42 days. If just 30 percent of employees sign cards, union officials would be allowed on the company property to garner more support.

Today, we have more news on this movement toward compromise, with an alternate plan described first by WaPo, later by Lanny Davis himself.  WaPo begins:

As business and labor gird for battle over legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the debate could be transformed by a "third way" proposed by three companies that like to project a progressive image: Costco, Starbucks and Whole Foods.

Allow me to digress.  Alarms go off whenever I hear the terms “progressive” and “third way”.  Essentially, the Third Way is a left of center approach to economics, not as far left as stone cold Socialism perhaps, but hardly “centrist”.  This sums up the hazards of the third way approach nicely, particularly in light of this new attempt to “compromise” over card check:

Advocates of laissez-faire capitalism are staunch opponents of a mixed economy, even in the weaker form of the "third way." In 1990, after the fall of his country’s communist government, Czechoslovakia’s finance minister, Václav Klaus, declared, "We want a market economy without any adjectives. Any compromises with that will only fuzzy up the problems we have. To pursue a so-called Third Way is foolish. We had our experience with this in the 1960s when we looked for a socialism with a human face. It did not work, and we must be explicit that we are not aiming for a more efficient version of a system that has failed. The market is indivisible; it cannot be an instrument in the hands of central planners”

This e-z to read, hilariously entertaining chart by a group called the Center for Economic and Social Justice,  purports to summarize the differences between capitalism, socialism, and the Third Way approach.  (If you’re looking for clichés about greedy capitalists, this is your go-to source.) You may conclude for yourself if you like the Third Way solutions, but as Sam Goldwyn famously said, include me out.

Meanwhile, Third Way dot org, describes its mission like this:

Third Way is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. We are advancing a 21st century progressive agenda by working with elected officials, candidates, and advocates to create policies and market those ideas in the public debate.

A quick scan of the about page and you the names of many “non-partisan” democrats and a whole lotta Bush bashing.  To insure that you don’t miss the part about them being “progressive” they repeat the word, ad nauseum, proudly describing the “progressive leadership” using a “progressive approach” to issues.

Back to the WaPo story:

Davis said he thought that the proposal would intrigue President Obama, who as a senator was a co-sponsor of the card-check bill in 2007 but signaled in an interview before his inauguration that he was also open to other proposals to help organized labor. "This is consistent with President Obama’s overall approach of avoiding polarized positions and looking for third-way ideas," Davis said.

Heh. If Obama likes to avoid polarized positions, he sure has a funny way of showing it.  Like Vaclav Klaus, wise men are not impressed with this third way approach:

The business lobby has been warning against any moves to tweak card check just enough to give centrists cover to support it. And word that a compromise is circulating from three "progressive" companies prompted business groups to warn yesterday against premature compromise.

But it is possible that the proposal will generate even greater opposition among unions and their supporters in Congress. Some business groups say they are open to limited organizing rules, separate from card check — a position not so far from what the three companies propose.


And the CEOs also do not share the labor movement’s underlying belief that the decline of organized labor has contributed to income inequality and the economy’s current imbalance. "That so few companies are unionized is not for a lack of trying but because [unions] are losing elections — workers aren’t choosing to have labor representation," Mackey said. "I don’t feel things are worse off for labor today."

Americans don’t wants unions, but they fund the Democrat Party, so unions we must have, by hook or by crook. Heavy on the crook.

Of the three companies, only Costco has a substantial minority of employees that are unionized — about a fifth of its hourly employees belong to the Teamsters, with whom it has good relations. Starbucks and Whole Foods have resisted most unionizing efforts.

Giving organizers the ability to use card check, Schultz said, would lead to a slew of separate bargaining units at a company like his, leading to "havoc and significant cost and disruption." Mackey had an even grimmer view. "Armed with those weapons, you will see unionization sweep across the United States and set workplaces at war with each other," he said. "I do not think it would be a good thing."

Despite the evidence that no one is clamoring for unions (indeed, 81% of Americans want no part of them) they have read the tea leaves, and fear that with Dems in control of Congress, card check will be passed. The solution? Sign up with Clintonista Lanny Davis!:

Lanny Davis has formed a group called the “Committee for Level Playing Field”. His press release states it has been Organized To Offer “Third Way” on Card Check Bill; Costco, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market Are Founding Companies.

There go those alarms again, this time with the phrase, Level playing field (Dare I mention that the word “committee” is also very Central Planning-ish?).  Having lived through the Clinton years (Bill and Hill are Third Way-ers), I know that level the playing field is code for create equal outcomes, achieved in part by constantly moving the goal posts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.

These corporations are in the proverbial position of being between a rock and a hard place, and one can’t blame them for being scared.   They can pray that card check doesn’t pass, or they can choose the Third Way”.  Alas, these self-described “progressive” corporations may not clearly see the hazards that lie in the road ahead by choosing this route; hazards that invariably arise when liberal democrats, like Lanny Davis, ride in to save the day.

I’m hoping beyond hope that Lanny’s plan does not prevail. I’d rather join the wise men who wish to fight these creeping, incremental intrusions into our liberties to the end; those who, like Vaclav Klaus, want “a market economy without any adjectives”.


Hmmmm.   Amada Carpenter’s  Washington Times report on this brewing controversy provides a new take on the situation:

Brad Close, vice president of federal policy the National Federation of Independent Business, also was skeptical of the three companies’ motives, saying this plan could be a way for large corporations to eliminate their competition in the market.

"Starbucks and Whole Foods are trying to crush the other businesses by making it easier for workers to organize them. This gives them a competitive advantage, he said. In addition, Wal-Mart is one of Costco’s biggest competitors and has been adamantly against the "card-check" bill.

(Hat tip: Ed Morrissey/ Hot Air)


I revised my second sentence, to make it clearer that this Costco/Starbucks/Whole Foods plan is not the same as Jay Krupin’s plan. Also, I neglected to point out that the WaPo story buys into labor’s line that “businesses intimidate workers’, while failing to mention that unions are famous for their intimidation tactics.


(Michelle Malkin) Thanks to Arlen Specter, it looks like EFCA/Card Check is dead, but the Third Way compromise is not.  And so we must fight on…


2 Responses to ““Third Way” Progressive lawyer Lanny Davis leads effort to “level the playing field” for union access; frightened corporations ready to sign up”

  1. mjB said

    The Employee Free Choice Act should be called “The Employee Right For Intimidation” act!



  2. matt said

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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