Lincoln And Labor

Since Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) started serving on Arkansas’ behalf in the Senate Arkansans have been working harder and smarter raising production steadily to help keep things running while their wages have stalled.

Thanks to the Blanches ardent support of supply side economics the wealth created by Arkansans productivity can be found “redistributed” into the pockets of the highest earners rather than in the pockets of the lower 90 percentile of earners where it belongs, if you happen to be wondering where all that productivity went.

How does Blanche Lincoln respond when she finally has Democrats  to work with in the White House? She sides with Republicans to obstruct. Opposing a strong public option in HCR, opposing EFCA and opposing Craig Becker’s nomination to the NLRB. Blocking efforts at every turn to shift policy from a stagnating, regressive, supply-side emphasis based on an antiquated paradigm that says labor has to loose for business to win. Blanche, nestled comfortably in the big bucks of the status quo, is blind to the progressive reality that when labor on Main Street wins, we all win.

The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America’s “job creators” (my sarcasm) to compete,” Randel Johnson, vice president of labor issues at the Chamber of Commerce, said last week. The Chambers efforts, along with Senate Republicans and Lincoln, to block Craig Becker’s nomination to the NLRB was circumvented by President Obama last week, finally breaking Lincolns blue-dog log-jam.

Rejecting the “red-light” warnings of the Chamber Obama made the recess appointments anyway for 15 of his of 217 nominations still being held up. With the wind at the administrations back after winning a long and hard fought battle over health care reform, Obama’s tolerance of political posturing and obstructionism at the expense of his qualified nominations getting to work is wearing thin:

The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” said President Barack Obama. “Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”

The idea that an appointee to the NLRB can’t be an advocate of labor is absurd and insulting and demonstrates how biased and divorced from the economic reality on Main Street the senate has become. Blanche Lincoln teaming up with Republicans to block Becker’s nomination was the last straw for labor and the chasm is only going to grow between them.

Justine Nichols AFSCME’s coordinator characterized Lincolns recent adds against her pro-labor opponent Lt. Gov. Bill Halter as misleading and “dirty politics” she claims she saved 1,700 jobs at the Cooper Tire and Rubber plant in Texarkana but the Cooper Tire employees (USW Local 752L) disagree claiming that it was in fact labors concessions that saved those jobs and the irony is that Lincolns pro NAFTA and CAFTA votes are what helped make those kind of painful concessions by labor necessary in the first place. Rather than raising the standard of living for working Arkansans Lincoln has been working full-time to raise the standard of living for her friends in the Chamber at Arkansas labor’s expense.

As the Arkansas AFL CIO said:

If the senator had the foresight to support working families in Arkansas by voting against these trade bills then Arkansas families would not have to worry about their jobs being shipped overseas. The workers at the Cooper Tire plant know this and would appreciate more directness from the senator when she makes these claims.

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