As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama plans on ladling out the usual treacle about how these brave men risked their lives, "... all for their families. ...These miners lived - as they died - in pursuit of the American dream." It seems the "American" dream these days consists of owning a nice pick up, a fishing boat, a two-story tract house, an LCD big screen TV and being treated alright by the corporate bastards who own one's soul, q.v. April 7, SimplyErnest.blogspot.com. "Whipped American Worker"
The Washington Post report adds, the president plans on reminding all of we mere mortals, as these 29 martyrs are carried aloft to some coal begrimed Valhalla, "Never forget, they say, miners keep America's lights on." He will then pledge greater vigilance and detail for mine safety so future Upper Big Branch mining disaster will never happen again.
Now here's why the president's speech is bullshit: nowhere does he mention, at least as reported by the Washington Post, the fact that traditionally unionized mines have safer work environments. While the president waxes poetic on how the dead hero miners and all us consumers of electricity are "...all family. We are Americans[,]" he breaths not a word about the Employee Free Choice Act.
EFCA is a bill that needs even greater legislative priority that "immigration" reform.
The Employee Free Choice Act streamlines procedures for employees to decide on union representation and bargain a first contract. Under this bill, a union would be automatically recognized in a workplace when a majority of employees sign cards stating that they want to be represented by that union. To facilitate agreement on a first contract for employees after the union is recognized, the bill enables either the union or management to refer any disputes about the contract to mediation if an accord has not been reached within 90 days after bargaining begins. If the mediator is unable to reach a deal within an additional 30 days, the dispute will go to binding arbitration with the arbitration agreement binding for two years. Finally, the bill increases penalties for violations of labor law: raising fines, tripling the amount of back wages employees can receive if they are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights, and requiring the courts to seek injunctions against employers, as well as unions, that violate labor laws.But the sticking point is the simple "card check" requirement. As usual the forces of reaction, never champions of democracy unless it suits them, have gone into full cry that card check "would effectively eliminate private voting." Of course the suburban white boys who pump out this propaganda have never gone through a National Labor Relations Board union-certification vote. Or if they have they have done so from management's perspective and know that management intimidation, management snitches and ballot stuffing are par for the course.
The sad fact is the American worker is so whipped and brainwashed by thirty plus years of right wing radio and television demagoguery, in the sense of, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power, that he or she accepts the fact that he or she is fungible. Why do you think corporations and even government agencies have substituted the bureaucratese gobbledygook of "human resources department" for the older and straight forward "employement office?" As the whipped American worker Kevin Lambert says, "They treat me alright."
If Congress and the president do not make progress on the EFCA then these 29 miners will have died in vain.