Laboring to coerce workers

February 15, 2007 · Posted in Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics 

I knew this had been coming for awhile, but finally it got a name and a number put to it. Last week in the House of Representatives H.R. 800 was introduced, erroneously billed as the “Employee Free Choice Act”. In reality, what this bill would accomplish is end the practice of union representation elections held by secret ballot – rather, the workers would sign cards that state they would favor union representation. Apparently the 61% success rate for union elections in fiscal year 2005 isn’t good enough for the unionistas, who want to have the perfect right to strongarm and intimidate 50 percent plus one of the workers in a place of employment into signing a card guaranteeing that the union collects dues from 100% of the workers.

But this practice is not really for the workers’ benefit; instead, it’s to collect a piece of their wages to advocate for political favors. Not surprisingly, all but a handful of the over 230 co-sponsors to H.R. 800 are Democrats. The few Republicans who have signed on are from Big Labor strongholds New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Connecticut.

I did some checking on opensecrets.org and found out that these Republicans were (for GOP members, anyway) pretty deeply in the pocket of Big Labor. With one exception, they received 10% or more of their PAC money from labor groups, and most were above 25%. By comparison, local Congressman Wayne Gilchrest has only a 4.6% lifetime percentage of labor PAC contributions (none in the 2006 cycle) and California Democrat Rep. George Miller (lead sponsor of H.R. 800) had about 60% of his PAC money come from organized labor.

To be fair, I don’t have a problem with workers organizing, nor does a group that I’ve used as a resource in writing this post (and whose e-mail alerted me to this recently introduced bill.) In fact, The Center for Union Facts notes that they’re not against unions, but, “against union officials’ abuse of power, often at the expense of their own rank-and-file members. We are against corruption, violence, and intimidation. We are against the misuse of union dues. We support employees who elect to join a union, as well as the right of employees to remain non-union without intimidation.” A good summary of their position on “card check”, along with a copy of an ironic 2001 letter from many of these same HR 800 sponsors urging Mexican officials to support a secret ballot for unionization, can be found here.

(With regard to my stance on unions, I find it funny that I’m somewhat to the left of Gunpowder Chronicler, based on the post and comments he wrote a few days back.)

However, I’m bringing this subject up not because I’m under any assumption that this bill won’t pass the House (with over 230 sponsors passage there is a fait accompli); but it’s still possible that the GOP minority in the Senate can grow a pair and bring this to a halt like they did with the unamended minimum wage bill. Failing that, possibly President Bush would see the irony of signing a bill denying democratic rights to millions of America’s workers after expending billions of dollars and several thousand lives to bring democratic rights to millions of Afghanis and Iraqis, and properly veto the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.

There’s nothing wrong with the system as is. Workers should be free of intimidation from either side when making a choice whether to organize or not, and it’s been proven that a secret ballot is the best way to bring out the honest feelings on whether the union has made a good case for itself or not. Reverting to “card check” just stacks the deck in favor of the unions and against the employers who hire the workers in the first place.

 

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One Response to “Laboring to coerce workers”

  1. […] Yes, I’m a conservative. Yes, I’m a Republican. I’m also a big believer in unions. I do not however believe in force or coercion in getting people to join unions. MonoBlogue serves up an excellent post on the latest attempt by the Dems in Congress to force people to join unions. […]

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