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Warren Buffett Comes Out Against Employee Free Choice Act: ‘I’m Against Card Check’

This morning on CNBC, billionaire investor Warren Buffett — who is a progressive on many economic issues — struck a decidedly non-progressive stance on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA):

CNBC: Some say that EFCA and card check would narrow the disparity [between the haves and have-nots]. In other words, having unions have more of a say, have more companies unionize. Is that a good idea, or do you think as a business owner, it would be a negative for the economy?

BUFFETT: I think the secret ballot’s pretty important in the country. I’m against card check to make a perfectly flat statement.

CNBC’s Joe Kernen gleefully declared that he “liked” Buffett’s answer. Butffett did concede, however, that “by and large, the people who are in unions have not been well-treated by the tax code that we’ve had over time.” Watch it:

Unfortunately, Buffett is adopting the right-wing’s misleading talking points on the Free Choice Act. The proposed bill — as the name indicates — would not end secret balloting in labor elections, but rather provide a choice. It would offer an alternative fairer path for workers to unionize by enabling them to form a union by getting a majority to sign cards of consent (the “card check”), instead of having to undergo a full unionization campaign (which are often subject to employer intimidation).

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The importance of the legislation is simple and clear. Sixty million U.S. workers would join a union if they could because union workers on average make 30 percent in more in wages than non-union workers and are more likely to have health insurance.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and other business interests have spent millions of lobbying and advertising dollars to oppose the bill, disseminating false myths about its impact and claiming it would be a “job killer.” Unfortunately, the massive public relations spin effort is having some effect. “I’m not sure we have the votes” to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said yesterday.

Update:

Ben Smith writes that the corporate interests are hiring hordes of “Republican political operatives” to fight against the Free Choice Act.

Update:

,In addressing the ailing economy, the Republicans “have an obligation to support things that are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way,” Buffett said. “I think the Republicans have an obligation to recognize this as an economic war and realize you need one leader… I think the [Democrats] should not use it…to roll the Republicans.”