If the Employee Free Choice Act, which McConnell calls the “Employee Forced Choice Act,” passes the Senate, the Democratic members will have to do it, he said during a telephone conference call with reporters.
Earlier in the day, during a speech before about 400 persons at a Commerce Lexington policy luncheon at Keeneland, the Republican leader from Louisville lashed out at the measure backed by labor.
He called it “a big step in the wrong direction.”
McConnell said the AFL-CIO wants the measure approved because “private sector union membership has declined from a high of 35 percent in the 1950s to 7.5 percent now.”
That has happened “because we have very enlightened management in this country now, treating employees better and employees have decided they don’t want to pay the dues.”
Unions say the measure is needed because current federal labor law does not protect workers interested in organizing from unfair termination by employers.
The law also would impose binding arbitration to insure employers negotiate with newly organized workers. Employers say that would deny them time to lobby workers against joining a union.
Bill Londrigan, head of the state AFL-CIO, said McConnell opposes the proposal “because it goes against all his big corporate contributors.”
Londrigan scoffed at McConnell’s remark that management is “enlightened.”
“What planet is he living on?” asked Londrigan. “We read all the time of CEOs who are destroying corporations, ripping off Wall Street. How enlightened are they?”
- Jack Brammer