February 28, 2007

Democrats and Labor Leaders Quash Workers' Rights

Marc Comtois

According to GOP Minority Whip John Boehner:

Under the guise of “protecting” workers, a bill by House Democrats would strip American workers of the right to choose -- freely and anonymously -- whether to unionize. The misleadingly titled Employee Free Choice Act offers neither freedom nor choice, and will leave workers open to ugly union harassment, intimidation, and pressure that still persist today. The San Francisco Examiner called it “exquisitely Orwellian… anti-freedom, anti-democracy"...

The remarkable thing about the Employee Free Choice Act is the enormous amount of power over the lives of Americans it gives to Big Labor. No other group has the authority to simply draw up a few signatures in order to force others to start paying them money. But that is exactly what Democrats are giving their union buddies. By stripping workers of their right to a private ballot election, Democrats are raiding the wallets of and stripping away fundamental rights from American workers.

Boehner also offers up this useful analogy:
[I}magine it is November 2008 and community leaders all across America decide not to hold elections. Instead of heading into a voting booth like you always have, you’re told to show up at town hall and declare publicly -- in front of your neighbors and community leaders -- for whom and what you’re voting.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well this is exactly what House Democrats are proposing for your workplace. Workers will no longer be able to express their wishes privately; their “votes” will be public for everyone -- union organizers, employers, co-workers -- to see.
Is this the progressives' idea of protecting workers' rights? They feel comfortable excoriating corporate fat-cats for initimidating workers who want to organize, but shouldn't they and the Democrats they support be intellectually honest enough to recognize that union bosses can be just as intimidating? Not just CEO's pull down six figures, my friends. Or do they just like to pay lip service to worker rights and think that passing "labor" laws are enough maintain their street cred of "fighting for the little guy"?

Currently, Anchor Rising is running an advertisement for a "virtual" March on Washington sponsored by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which "co-chairs the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, an organization that represents employers, workers, and activists who want to safeguard the protections of the secret ballot in workplaces throughout America."

We strenuously oppose H.R. 800, the “Employee Free Choice Act” and the unions who want Congress to legislate the end of secret ballot union elections and the safeguards they afford to working families.

Congress has begun working on this legislation and may vote on it as soon as the week of February 26.

Join a crowd of thousands without leaving your computer by writing a letter to your members of Congress and designing a “virtual you” to place on the Mall.

If you think that workers should have the right to a secret ballot, pay them a visit.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

This sounds like something you'd see in a Third World banana republic, overseen by a fascist dictator.

Posted by: Jim at February 28, 2007 2:15 PM

Ok, so I haven't entirely decided how I feel about this yet, but:

This isn't as black and white an issue as you're making it seem. I'm sympathetic to the argument that, in general, secret ballots are a good thing. However, in practice the kind of secret balloting used to certify a union takes months or years to complete, during which time management has significant time and opportunity to intimidate workers against joining the unions.

Under a card check system, a union can be certified much, much quicker.

From everything I understand, management intimidation is far, far more prevalent than union intimidation, so that's why most labor advocates are in favor of this.

Of course, the best possible solution is quick fair secret balloting with no intimidation on either side. I'm not sure how to achieve that.

Posted by: mrh at February 28, 2007 6:51 PM

I should also add that I get very suspicious when I see who's lined up against the EFCA. For the Chamber of Commerce and aligned organizations to paint themselves as the champions of workers' rights is, at best, comical.

Posted by: mrh at February 28, 2007 6:52 PM


>>From everything I understand, management intimidation is far, far more prevalent than union intimidation, so that's why most labor advocates are in favor of this.

I happen to have some professional expertise in this area.

Does management intimidation occur (e.g., firing of union supporters)?

Occasionally, but not nearly on the scale that the unions want people to believe. If management has a meeting during work time, and during which people are paid, to give it’s side, the unions call it a “captive audience meeting” and call that employer intimidation – in fact, anything that management does to give the other side of the story (from what the paid, professional union organizers want employees to hear) they call “propaganda” and “intimidation.”

Also, it’s not unheard of for unions to entice employees to get themselves fired (for some infraction), put them on the union payroll (or otherwise make them whole), and then claim that the employee was fired because of their union sympathies - which then enables to make that employee a “symbol” of the “bad employer” and to file a (bogus) unfair labor practices charge.

The field is much more level than what the unions want people to believe. After all, the National Labor Relations Act was written and enacted under FDR, a “progressive” icon.

You should know that unions (legally) get “salts” hired – paid, professional union organizes posing as employees, essentially moles working from inside. These salts typically do not inform other employees that in reality that they’re union organizers, so the employees are led to believe that the “pro union” stuff their hearing is from a sincere coworker.

There are also strict limits on what employers can say to their employees – any “untruth” and the union can file an unfair labor practice charge against the employer – whereas the National Labor Relations Board says that it is not an unfair labor practice for union organizers to mislead or exaggerate, that employees should know that they are trying to sell something and take what union organizers say with a grain of salt. This isn’t true in many, if not most instances, because the unions have managed to portray themselves as benevolent organizations (except say, the Teamsters) that are exist solely to better the lot of working people – and their organizers are trained to take advantage of this – and so many employees (falsely) believe that the union / organizer only has their best interests at heart, and so without hearing the other side they don’t find out the downsides of unionization (of which there are many – it isn’t a black and white matter of “union” all good or all bad, but of pros and cons).

And think about it – if employer intimidation were that bad, wouldn’t employees see through that? And wouldn’t it backfire on employers as employees WITH THE PROTECTION OF A FEDERALLY SUPERVISED SECRET BALLOT ELECTION can react by voting the union in “to protect themselves” from the employer going forward?

Conversely, imagine the inherently intimidating effect of a group of pro-unions employees (who have been coached by a behind the scenes union organizer) knocking on your door, and in front of your family telling you that it would be in your “best interests” to sign?

Union organizers are also notorious for lying to people about what the “card” really means – they’ll say that it is just to be put on a mailing list to receive information, or (ironically) that its only purpose is to call for a secret ballot election. Unions are also notorious for refusing to return signed cards to employees who later changed their minds.


If EFCA were REALLY about the good of employees and ensuring that their desires could be swiftly realized, then wouldn’t the EFCA also include a provision for employees to decertify the union (either replacing one union with another, or to return to union-free status) by “card check?”

It doesn’t. It is designed to be a kind of “Hotel California” for employees – they can “card check in, but they can never leave.”

Posted by: Tom W at February 28, 2007 10:43 PM
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