Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Will Democrats Help ERODE Tribal Sovereignty via UNION CARD CHECKS?

Republican congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the only Native American tribal member in the US Congress, says that UNION CARD CHECKS are the biggest threat to tribal sovereignty.

COLE: There is no question in my mind what the answer is, and I respond by saying, “In this Congress and the next, tribes face the greatest threat to their sovereign governments that the U.S. Congress has attempted in decades: the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.”

As Americans, we cherish our right to vote in private when it comes to elections. So, too, it seems to me with the individual right to vote in a union election in private – without some goon looking over our shoulder to make sure we vote “the right way.” This is a part of our democracy and ingrained in our collective sense of being Americans. It is also a fundamental component of our basic labor laws for more than 60 years, a personal freedom exercised by millions of American workers.

Yet that personal freedom is exactly what the Democratic Party leaders and their union boss cohorts want to take from American workers. This ill-conceived proposal represents payback for years of unquestioning loyalty by large union bosses – a proposal that strips union members of their right to have secret-ballot elections to choose their leaders.

For Indian tribal governments, there is no “free choice” at all. Instead, it carries with it a very real threat that goes to the core of their sovereignty. For the first time, this legislation will trample the inherent sovereign rights of tribal governments to govern their internal affairs.

OP: The unions have been trying to get card check for some time now. How long do you think it will take with: A Democratic President, A Democratic House and A Democratic Senate? Isn't ironic that the same party that puts a leader of a tribe that's a KNOWN civil rights violator on their platform committee, will be the party that destroys the rights of tribes?

And here is Cole's conclusion:

This threat to tribal sovereignty makes this election of vital importance to Indian tribes across the United States. To me the question is simple: Will the next president eagerly sign a law that strikes at the very heart of tribal sovereignty and ignores tribal aspirations to govern themselves?
Or will the next president honor the solemn commitments made by the United States to tribal nations – commitments enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and 200 years of treaties and laws?Only one candidate has shown the mettle to reject this legislation as part of the successful Senate blockade of that law last year. That same candidate has defended and successfully worked to strengthen tribal sovereignty for more than 26 years.At the end of the day, I know that this tribal member is voting for that candidate – Sen. John McCain.

So is a vote for Obama, a vote for card check? He's said as much:

Sen.Barack Obama has declared, “We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, we may have to wait for the next president to sign it, but we will get this thing done.” (Chicago Tribune, March 4, 2007). Sen. Joseph Biden, his running mate, stated that the Employee Free Choice Act is a new “social compact.”

So the unions will no longer have to work to earn the trust of the potential rank and file. Is this what finally erodes tribal sovereignty? Erosion that has been quickened by the violations of civil rights, human rights, elder abuse that tribes like Pechanga, Picayune Rancheria and Enterprise have perpetrated on their people?

Is Obama THE ONE for tribes?
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