October 1st, 2013

Dysfunction in Congress darkens hope for workplace bullying legislation

We certainly agree with WBI supporter Cindy Waitt who drew the analogy between the Congressional shutdown of the U.S. Government on October 1 and the exercise of workplace bullying.

More important is the damage lawmaker dysfunction creates for prospects of legislation to improve the lives of working people. At the federal level, a group representing approximately one-fifth of the House of Representatives refuses to do the pro forma act of funding existing services. And that group wants to actually deprive food stamp recipients (SNAP program enrollees) of the ability to fend off hunger (now euphemistically called “food insecurity”).

In states with legislatures under Republican party control, the agenda matches exactly ALEC’s pro-business/anti-government privatization, voting restrictions, union-breaking, reversals in women’s rights, and anti-poor austerity laws.

You may consider the Congressional minority akin to the proud principled revolutionary hero Thomas Paine or see them as self-aggrandizing radicals abdicating their responsibility to serve the American people.

Regardless, the following facts are true:

• only saboteurs seek jobs with the sole purpose of dismantling the institutions they work for

• given the success of federal and state lawmakers at reversing progressive laws that expanded individuals’ rights and once regulated businesses, the trend is clearly harmful to individual workers

• liars deliberately confuse bills with laws to suggest something final is still in draft form. Bills are introduced, debated, voted on and sent to the executive’s desk (governor or president) for affirmation or veto. With the executive’s signature a bill becomes law. The Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) is law. It stopped being a bill when the president signed it on March 23, 2010. In fact, some laws face constitutional challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the law’s legality in 2012. It is not a “bill” as the radical minority derisively refers to it. Implementation began Oct. 1, 2013.

• the contempt for colleagues and president shown by radical lawmakers in the core group that insisted on the shutdown models a level of disrespect and intimidation previously reserved for the abusive relationships, schools and workplaces — there no longer is the pretense of civility and decency

• those arguing against expanding health care insurance to millions who could not qualify beforehand evidently have never suffered ill health without access to doctors, clinics or hospitals — shame on them

• denial of health care, food, unemployment insurance to the neediest in our society is cruel and sadistic — again, a shame for America the world cannot understand

• leaders of the federal shutdown have admirers in state houses and those state radicals will never support, and probably will work hard to kill, adult anti-bullying legislation, our Healthy Workplace Bill.

The political climate has become even chillier for hopes of passing our innovative attempt to restore a modicum of justice to American workplaces where abuse thrives. Small groups of legislators who are dedicated to depriving citizens of existing rights loathe extending any rights.

The fact that our bill has not yet passed into law depends on many factors, the least of which is the terminology of the bill itself. The HWB is a workers’ rights bill. The appetite for bills like the HWB will now be at an all time low.

Reasonable lawmakers outnumber the destructive radicals. Brave lawmakers must call out their obstructing peers. The brave can make miracles happen. Sadly, bravery is in short supply.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 11:16 am and is filed under Commentary by G. Namie, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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