The NYT is reporting that Change to Win and the AFL-CIO have agreed ( after some apparent pressure from the Obama Admin) to work together on some immigration reform proposals. Of course no one seems to know what that means, exactly....
The nation’s two major labor federations have agreed for the first time to join forces to support an overhaul of the immigration system, leaders of both organizations said on Monday. The accord could give President Obama significant support among unions as he revisits the stormy issue in the midst of the recession.
John Sweeney, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and Joe T. Hansen, a leader of the rival Change to Win federation, will present the outlines of their new position on Tuesday in Washington. In 2007, when Congress last considered comprehensive immigration legislation, the two groups could not agree on a common approach. That legislation failed.
The accord endorses legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already in the United States and opposes any large new program for employers to bring in temporary immigrant workers, officials of both federations said.
“The labor movement will work together to make sure that the White House as well as Congress understand that we speak about immigration reform with one voice,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement to The New York Times.
Uh-huh. I suppose it's news that they agree on legalization - which is, after all, the big sticking point - but what kind of legalization? permanent? temporary? ad hoc? The devil is always in the details and there aren't any as yet.
It's kind of a neat arrangement since he gets all the credit for a policy with none of the criticism that might come if we knew how it was going to be implemented. Seems like the unions have either picked up the same trick or are being used by the WH (why do I feel the hard, cold hand of Rahm in all this?) to pick up a little easy publicity and at the same time fly a trial balloon on a contentious issue on somebody else's dime. I mean, why take the heat when you've got lackeys who'll take it for you?
And the heat is there...sort of. That other lackey, the Chamber of Commerce, doesn't know any more about what the union leaders might propose than I do but they're already huffing and puffing and accusing the house down trying to control the debate in advance.
“If the unions think they’re going to push a bill through without the support of the business community, they’re crazy,” said Randel Johnson, the chamber’s vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits. “There’s only going to be one shot at immigration reform. As part of the trade-off for legalization, we need to expand the temporary worker program.”
While the NYT's reliable corporate-mouthpiece Business reporters, in this case Julia Preston and Steven Greenhouse, opine tendentiously that the unions don't have a bishop's chance in a whorehouse to convince anybody of anything.
Of course, they are quite naturally basing their opinion on - what else - a Republican's opinion.
The common labor position is also unlikely to convince many opponents that an immigration overhaul would not harm American workers. When Obama administration officials said last week that the president intended to push Congress this year to take up an immigration bill that would include a path to legal status for the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, critics criticized the approach as amnesty for lawbreakers.
“In our current economic crisis, Americans cannot afford to lose more jobs to illegal workers,” said Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican who sits on the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. “American workers are depending on President Obama to protect their jobs from those in America illegally.”
In the NYT Business Section, the same clueless Pubs who created this fiasco are the ones whose criticisms are the ones worth listening to. Look at who they're quoting, fer dawg's sake - 2005's "Dumbest Iowa Congressman".
I don't think these guys get it yet.
MEMO TO STEVEN GREENHOUSE: You've been on the edge of irradiated persiflage for years now. If you continue to act as if the GOP has anything whatever of value to say about anything, quotuing well-known Republican nitwits and headbangers as if they were, you know, rational, you risk becoming just as irrelevant as they are. You're one step away now.
Your choice, of course.