The vote for motion to recommit HR 800, known as the Employee Free Choice Act, went down a couple of days ago by a 23 vote margin. It would've abrogated any perceived right of illegal residents in the US to participate in union elections. That is, as part of the package essentially allowing workers to bring about union representation through petition (thereby making employee positions public) in addition to traditional balloting, the motion aimed to disallow both petition signing and ballot voting to unlawful aliens.
At least that was what those leading the charge called for. However, Pelosi's Democratic leadership refused to allow for an amendment, so a vote for restricting union votes to legal citizens would've also been a vote to forestall the passage of the resolution. Had there've been no political cover under which to take refuge ("I voted to stengthen the right of hardworking laborers in negotiations with management as expeditiously as possible! I didn't want it to get pigeon-holed in a morass of re-writes, reconfigurations, and considerations!"), the outcome might have even favored the addition.
That it came so close to passing, given that it wasn't allowed to be an independent amendment to the resolution, is encouraging. Even more encouraging is the short-list of Democrats who broke ranks and voted in favor of the motion:
Barrow (GA)Almost half of these 'mavericks' are newly-minted rookies in the Congressional class (in bold). They are the same junior members who trenchantly opposed amnesty and in no uncertain terms censured the Bush Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress for their dereliction in failing to halt unfettered illegal immigration during the November '06 campaigns. The new Democrats voted for the motion at a rate nine times greater than that of establishment Democrats.
Parenthetically, labor unions should've supported the motion in the form of an amendment. They would've picked up some Republican support for the resolution in its entirety, allowing the labor movement to tap into what I believe is a nascent economically populist groundswelling borne out of a frustration with stagnating real wages and growing deficits in return for cheap consumables and (disappearing) access to easy money.
That guys like AFL-CIO kingpin John Sweeney advocate open-borders in a Pyrric attempt to harness the sheer numerical power of Hispanic menials makes about as much sense as the GOP's attempt to do the same. Some migrants will join. Most will not. Those who do not will severely undercut the bargaining power of the unions, providing ever-cheaper labor (especially without any provisions to end underclass immigration at some arbitrary point in the future) by expanding its supply. Not only do they suppress wages, they give bottom-line employers more (non-union) options to choose from.
How many menials from the Mexican interior, previously having made 50 cents an hour, will risk jeopardizing their jobs, their security, and their big-business support to throw in with unions that are perpetually being undercut by more newly arrived migrants salivating over the chance to make $8 an hour and enjoy other material benefits provided on the dole of the American taxpayer?
Not many. Hispanics are the least likely of the four major demographic categories to be members of a union. Blacks are 45% more likely to be members than Hispanics are. Even the Asian participation rate is higher than that of Hispanics.
You'd think union leaders would be wise enough to be weary of opening up the gates of the US to the mercenaries their corporate antagonists so fervently clamor for. You'd think.