'State of the Union'

November 15, 2009

It was another great day in Bloomington on Oct. 21 when the Bloomington City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that will start addressing issues important to workers, respectable contractors and the taxpayers. A "thank you" goes out to all of our Bloomington representatives.

After working with Mayor Mark Kruzan, city attorney Kevin Robling and assistant Mike Rouker, City Council members Andy Ruff and Isabel Piedmont-Smith co-sponsored the Responsible Bidder Ordinance (RBO 09-18) and promoted its enactment. Bloomington has taken the lead again among Indiana cities and passed another important social policy for the betterment of the community.

June 14, 2009

The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has followed the position taken by the Indiana and national Chambers of Commerce by publicly opposing the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The EFCA is a piece of federal labor legislation aimed at rebalancing the power between workers and their employers in the workplace. EFCA would restore workers' rights lost due to unfair rulings by hostile Labor Board appointments, illegal tactics utilized by employers and the fact there is little incentive for following the law because penalties are effectively non-existent.

The Chamber's position that it is worried about how the new law would affect employees is comical. I never realized the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce was the voice for working people. I would have more respect for that proposition if they would come clean and say the obvious; they are concerned that they might lose the ability to circumvent the law. Let's remember what it states in Section 1 of the National Labor Relations Act and see how it compares to the real world as we see it today:

December 14, 2008

More media attention than usual has been devoted to labor law and the potential for some badly needed changes since Barack Obama's election. During his campaign, Obama publicly supported the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

But some in the business community have gone on the offensive to condemn changes in labor law as if the world was going to end if the EFCA passed in Congress.

The NLRA was passed in 1935 and gave workers the right to self-organization and protection if they desired to organize collectively to address workplace issues with their employers. It was a response to the effects of industrial strife and workplace disruptions of interstate commerce.

When employees believed they were being treated as commodities instead of as a people, strikes ensued, costing the economy, workers and employers much needed financial resources during the Great Depression.

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