Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor, Baseball Players and EFCA

Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor:A Sports Fan Who Puts her Decisions Where it Counts


by Mike Tolochko

New York City sports pages are aglow [May 27th, 2009] with the 1994-95 decision by federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to impose an injunction on the Baseball Owners, which stopped them from imposing their own work rules as the Players strike was taking place. Every decent sports columnist has heralded that move as saving the players work rules and benefits against a ruthless employers association. The baseball owners wanted to break the players union so that they would have the ruthless, anti-player power the football owners achieved. They almost got their wish.

Sotomayor imposed that injunction, according to reports, to save collective bargaining. Now, that is a justice who puts her sports fan status at the front her decision-making. She is reported to be a major baseball Yankees fan. Being from the South Bronx, the Yankees are her hometown team. How many politicians run to the ballparks to get fan support and then turnaround and do anti-worker, anti-player actions? Far too many.

Let's hope she gets confirmed in time for the playoffs. If the Yankees make it to the playoffs, they will have one fan in the stands, who having had the opportunity, that did the right thing.

Now, What About EFCA?

Too many Democrats, and even some labor policy wonks, are going along with the erroneous conclusion that organized labor leaders and lobbyists have given up on the Employee Free Choice Act [EFCA]. Clearly, the White House hasn't.

You hear more and more that the struggle to pass EFCA might take too much time. For, when even if it is passed, as the story goes, the Supreme Court will knock it down. That is deflating some of the early support for EFCA. Some are even offering half-baked adjustment to the NLRB rather than EFCA. A balanced playing field between labor and management is clearly on the minds of the White House, many other politicians and labor leaders.

An unintended consequence, or maybe unintended consequence, of the Barak Obama nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court bench will be to make sure that all workers get their rights.

The president has shown himself on more than one occasion that he supports workers and their unions in regard to their right to a level playing field against employers. Sotomayor may not just be the one judge on the SC, assuming confirmation, who has more experience as a sitting judge, as the President has said; she will be the first who has sided with workers and their unions. Once passing confirmation hearings and sitting on the Court, let's hope that she will be part of the Supreme Court to decide on EFCA's constitutionality.