Beebe On Labor Unions

Beebe takes Manhattan
Beebe takes Manhattan

In New York to pitch Arkansas as a great place to do business, Gov. Mike Beebe lands an interview with CNBC, where the interviewer asks him about labor unions, among other things.

Specifically, the reporter notes Barack Obama’s “pro-union” stance versus Arkansas-based Wal-Mart’s general “anti-union” stance, and asks Beebe how he squares “your loyalties to Wal-Mart and your loyalties to your party.” Beebe responds:

I’m a Democrat and I have a lot of friends and a lot of supporters that have been in the union, that were extraordinarily good to me.

However, having said that, in today’s business climate, in today’s world, with what’s going on right now, we don’t need to inhibit our business opportunities to be successful. We need to make sure that they have the jobs and they create the jobs and that they give the jobs for our workers to be able to have.

So right now is not the time, I think,  to do those things that inhibit further business activity.

Hmm. That sounds loosely “anti-union” to me. Is that how it sounds to you? If so, good for Gov. Beebe.

But does this mean that Beebe will lobby Arkansas’ five Congressional Democrats to vote against the union-backed “card check” legislation that will be a priority in the coming Democratic Congress? And which will be poised to become law if Obama ascends to the White House, as appears likely? Just asking.

Arkansas News Bureau columnist David Sanders dealt with Sen. Mark Pryor’s “ideological straddling” on the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” a few months back. Hey, did I mention I’ll be on Sanders’ AETN “Unconventional Wisdom” show tonight at 6:30 p.m.? I can’t remember if I mentioned that.

(Hat tip to Roby Brock’s BizBlog. Roby also interpreted Beebe’s remarks as a warning “against unionization efforts.”)

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6 thoughts on “Beebe On Labor Unions

  • October 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm
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    I saw that interview and the most striking thing was Beebe’s trumpeting the reduction, by 3 percent, of the sales tax on food. Mike Huckabee’s sins of commission and ommision regarding the sales tax on food will haunt the Repubs in AR. for decades. The AR. Dems are the real tax cutters and now own that brand.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 3:26 pm
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    I think Beebe gets it. EFCA would be horrible for Arkansas businesses. Pryor is wrong on that issue. Maybe Blanche will get that one right.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm
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    Trust me, pass the no-secret ballot union election law and Arkansas will lose the opportunity for more good employers like Toyota to move to Mississippi and eventually off-shore. Gov. Beebe is right to oppose the change in the law so that Arkansas, like other States, will still have the chance to atract new industry. Union card checks are notoriously fraught with Union organizers’ misrepresentations. Why do you think Unions have lost so many elections when the other side of the unionzation question is heard from management before the secret National Labor Relations Board Election is conducted?

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  • October 24, 2008 at 7:22 pm
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    First off you folks are totally off base on EFCA. It doesn’t make Arkansas a non-right to work for less state, it just simply changes the rules of the game around elections — oh yeah you guys like the rules of the game that’s right….

    And the benefits of unions remain the same — for business that means higher productivity and employees that are happy to come to work, lower issues of injury and more stability.

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  • October 24, 2008 at 8:35 pm
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    No Governor is going to get on a national tv news station and announce to the business world at large that he is in favor of a new federal law that makes it easier for unions to organize employers with a simple majority of signed union authorization cards rather than the longstanding current law that requires an NLRB conducted majority secret ballot election following a give-and-take-campaign between the union and the company. If Gov. Beebe had been stupid enough to say he was for such a change in the law , there would have been no new companies moving to Arkansas for the Unions to even attempt to organize!!

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  • October 24, 2008 at 11:03 pm
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    Poladdict…you really think unions benefits business? If that was the case wouldn’t they be encouraging unionization?

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