The Electric Commentary

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Reason #2 To Dislike Obama

At a recent labor rally in Chicago, Barack Obama said the following:

With Democrats in control of Congress and seeking to boost a sagging labor movement, Illinois' two senators and other local officials appeared at a Chicago rally this morning to promote legislation that would make it easier for workers to join a labor union against the wishes of a company.

"We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). "We may have to wait for the next president to sign it, but we will get this thing done."

This terribly misnamed bill is just a terrible piece of legislation. Let's pretend that next October of 2008, one month before the presidential election, that Obama is facing off against John McCain. Let's assume that you're taking a walk in your neighborhood, maybe heading to the grocery store, when a group of four Obama supporters come up to you. Two of them are scary 300 pound men. They shove a sheet of paper in your face and tell you that if you're "interested" in voting for Obama that you can do so right now by signing this bit of paper. One of the men is brandishing a baseball bat and staring suspiciously at the taillight of your car, or your dog. What would you do? Some of you, maybe most of you, would sign the paper.

The "Employee Free Choice Act" would allow union elections to be run in this fashion.

As of now, when a union is attempting to organize some industry they gauge the interest of the workforce by taking a poll by collecting cards. If you sign the card and turn it over, you're showing your interest in starting a union, however, the ultimate vote to unionize is conducted the same way that we conduct real elections in America; the secret ballot. Companies and unions are required to use secret ballots for the same reason that real US elections use secret ballots. People can express their true opinions absent coercion or consequences in a secret ballot election. This law would allow the card collection to be used instead of a secret ballot election.

It would not, as the Tribune put it, make it "easier for worker to join a union." It would make it easier for unions to force workers to join a union.

No Democrat would tolerate this method of holding elections in the political arena, but they almost all support it in the labor arena. It is a complete sellout to a special interest without any support in their overall philosophy.

Don't be fooled by this bill's misleading name, it would be a terrible blow to American companies, and worst of all, it would lead to an increase in labor unions.

Reason #1 to dislike Obama can be found here.


  • This won't be a problem for the primaries because essentially your problem is that Obama is too far left for you.

    Oh, and the union card thing. If you are familiar with union tactics, you have absolutely no doubts about the extent to which certain members will go to achieve adherence to what they want. If you don't, well, it can be shocking. It's easier for employers because their tactic is job reprecussions, but if you know anyone who's ever crossed a picket line or been a scab, you might be very opposed to the card idea.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 2:42 AM  

  • Sadly, Paul, your fears of union goons don't square with reality:

    22% of workers surveyed said management "coerced them a great deal.' 6% said the same for unions. During the NLRB election, 46% of workers complained of management pressure. During card check elections, 14% complained of union pressure. Workers in NLRB elections were twice as likely as workers in card check elections to report that management coerced them to oppose (it's worth noting that in card-check elections, 23% of workers complained of management coercion -- more than complained of union coercion). Workers in NLRB elections were more than 53% as likely to report that management threatened to eliminate their jobs.

    Even more interesting, fewer workers in card check campaigns said coworkers pressured them to join the union (17% to 22%). Workers in card check elections were more than twice as likely to report the employer took a neutral stance and let the workers decide.

    Usual caveats about who paid for the study, but check the methodology if you want. The facts seem to be that in a card-check elections, both labor and management apply less pressure on workers.

    If you set aside your union-goon fantasy world, you can maybe ask yourself why middle-class wages have stagnated over the same thirty years that union membership has plummetted.

    By Blogger Jay Bullock, at 9:02 PM  

  • You know Jay, I have been in a few unions in my day. Secret ballot elections make coercion more difficult. Even if management threatens it, the method of election offers protection. In a card campaign the worker has no safety.

    The bottom line is that even if management coerced workers in 100% of secret ballot elections and union goons coerced workers in only 1% of card drives, I would still feel this way.

    Also, I think that management should be able to attach any conditions to employment that it wishes.

    Lastly, in my dream world workers are coerced into not giving honest answers in surveys about unions.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 10:37 PM  

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