Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Corporate/Republican Lies Target Labor Law

Good Morning Readers! As usual, I have to try and correct the record created by Republican lies. The latest, and most important in my opinion, involves the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) circulating around Congress these days. If you listen to the corporate media and most Republicans, you would think it calls for the destruction of America. Trust me, I've read it, it doesn't.

Most of today's corporate/Republican liars, along with the usual smattering of souls-sold-for-the-right-price, media-hungry talking heads, are out there trying to claim the EFCA would eliminate the "secret ballot" in union authorization elections, which has been a centerpiece in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-funded anti-union PR campaign against the legislation. As usual with that bunch, it's a LIE!

There are other versions just as disgusting, yet funnier. I especially love the one being mentioned regularly on FOX "News" on how it's unAmerican (what else), and another indication how President Obama and the Democrats are turning the US into the next Soviet Union. Wow! It's obvious just how much homework FOX "News" professionals do. It's either laziness, or they really want the legislation to fail. I wonder, which is it? My guess is they're really not journalists and are full of BS!

Ignoring today's media scum, the truth is the legislation is brief and EASY TO READ and UNDERSTAND. It simply streamlines the union certification process. The text of the act (H.R. 800, 3/2/07) reveals it contains no language about eliminating the "secret ballot" enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act under Section 9 e.

This method of union sign-up, known as "majority sign-up" or "card check," is already recognized under current labor law, but only when the employer approves it. The CHANGE THAT PISSES OFF THE REPUBLICANS is that the EFCA would allow the employees to choose their own process, not the employer. I can't imagine that ordinary Americans, whether union supporters or not, would object to such a change.

The opposition to the bill, comprised mostly of unfair-minded business interests and deceitful, bought-and-paid-for Republicans, seem unconcerned about the plight of everyday, working Americans today. The way I see it, they view most Americans as pawns, useful only as a means to their own selfish ends.

Unions should not be allowed to destroy companies, but at the same time companies should not be allowed to turn American workers into third-world slaves. Unfair, unfettered global competition should not sacrifice the American middle-class at the alter of the free market. Americans have a right to organize if they so choose.

As I always say, the Democrats in Congress need to develop a backbone. They need to grow a pair. They should not allow the Blue-Dogs and the Republicans to derail or delay this critical legislation designed to aid the American worker. Unfortunately, there still aren't enough votes in the Senate to end debate. The Republicans - and their annoyingly obstinate 60-vote strategy - could derail this critical issue, and Americans may suffer even more for the result.

The American economy would only benefit from increased domestic wages, since it provides what's needed most - DOMESTIC BUYING POWER. Please write to your representatives in Washington and encourage them to support the EFCA. Feel free to read the legislation yourself here and make up your own mind.

Tuesday's "Republican Lies" Rant - Michael


Anonymous said...

EFCA Effectively Ends Worker Privacy

EFCA strips workers of their freedom to choose in privacy. It requires companies to recognize unions without an election once unions collect cards publicly signed by a majority of employees. Unions contend that because the union could file for an election with signatures from 30 to 50 per­cent of the workers in the company, EFCA does not end secret ballot elections. This is highly mislead­ing. Unions do not file for elections with cards signed by a minority of employees because they know they will probably lose. Their leaders openly state they have no intention of seeking elections if they can avoid them. Once unions have the majority of cards they need for card-check recognition, unions would demand immediate recognition, not request an election.

EFCA gives union representatives—and these representatives alone—the choice of how to orga­nize workers. Union organizers' goal is to recruit new dues-paying members, not give workers an opportunity to privately say “No” to union repre­sentation. Unions will tell workers that cards count only toward an election, then demand recognition without a vote. Employees cannot sign cards to request an election without having those cards count toward a card-check majority. Unions have demonstrated that they have no interest in allowing workers to privately reject union representation. The misnamed Employee Free Choice Act effec­tively ends secret ballot organizing elections for American workers.

James Sherk is Bradley Fellow in Labor Policy in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

by Michael Boh said...

Anon- Without much time to debate the specifics - which you delivered so well in such detail - allow me to say that James Sherk did a great job of spinning the American worker and unions as less than positive. Despite what the GOP says, modern unions in this country have a good track record of balancing their interests with those of the company. There is no need to paint them as cunning or dangerous. IF 30% of the employees go out on a limb to request either a card or secret vote, then that's what they deserve. Thinking otherwise, or LIMITING THEIR OPTIONS, is absurd. The employer should NOT have that control. The American worker should be trusted, and deserves OPTIONS! The EFCA does NOT end worker privacy. Enforced secret ballots do not guarantee or protect employees - they merely ensure employer control. The Heritage Foundation is the one that's misleading. Lighten up on the unions - Michael

Anonymous said...

EFCA requires employers to recognize a union— without an election—once organizers collect cards from a majority of employees.[6] Indeed, the act states that once the union submits signatures from over 50 percent of the employees to the NLRB, it must certify the union without an election. Under EFCA, holding a secret ballot election once unions collect cards from a majority of workers would become illegal.

Additionally, a card-check–only recognition pro­cess strips workers of their privacy. Polls show that most Americans strongly oppose denying workers the privacy of the voting booth when deciding whether to join a union.[7] In response to such criti­cism, unions now argue that EFCA does not end secret ballot elections. Instead, proponents argue that EFCA gives workers the choice between orga­nizing using public card-check or private elections.[8]

Unions make this claim because union organiz­ers can call for an organizing election after cards have been signed by at least 30 percent of employ­ees.[9] Since card-check recognition under EFCA occurs after organizers submit cards signed by a majority of workers, secret ballot elections could— in theory—occur under EFCA if organizers submit­ted cards signed by 30 to 50 percent of workers.

In practice this scenario will not happen. Noth­ing in the legislation gives workers any control over what organizing method unions use. That decision is left to union organizers. Organized labor's well-documented preference for card-check recognition makes it clear that EFCA effectively eliminates secret ballot elections.

Unions Do Not Submit Cards from a Minority of Workers

Unions virtually never call for elections with cards signed by a minority of workers. Organizers are generally instructed to collect cards from 60 to 70 percent of workers in a company before going to the polls.[10] Unions openly state that they do not go to an election without a supermajority of cards:

1. International Brotherhood of Teamsters: “The general policy of the Airline Division is to file for a representation election only after receiving a 65 percent card return from the eligible voters in a group.”[11]
2. New England Nurses Association: “Have 70– 75 percent of members sign cards; if unable to reach this goal, review plan.”[12]
3. Service Employees International Union (SEIU): “...[T]he rule of thumb in the SEIU is that it's unwise to file for an election when fewer than 70 percent of the workforce has signed interest cards.”[13]

by Michael Boh said...

Anon - Round and round we go, but I have to stop soon since I have to go to a dinner party. Again, you're clouding the issue, which makes me wonder whether or not you're a PR plant. Anyway, the bottom line involves trust and motive. Who do we trust and who has the motive to create chaos? I trust the American worker. Who do you trust? If you believe that corporations have the interests of their workers at the heart of their business plan then I have a bridge to sell you. WAKE UP! Corporations are empires. Workers are at least democratic. Trust the people's instincts to do what's right for them. Stop spinning - it's getting me dizzy - Michael

Anonymous said...

Workers have no say in the methods union orga­nizers use. EFCA does not permit workers to sign cards that call for an election without also counting those signatures toward a card-check majority. In fact, under federal law, a worker's signature on a union card counts as a “showing of interest” in union representation.

If workers at a company targeted by union orga­nizers collected signatures to call for a secret ballot election the union could, under EFCA, use those signatures to count towards a card-check majority. For instance, in an attempt to preempt a card-check–only organizing drive, employees might col­lect cards from 35 percent of fellow employees, turn them in to the NLRB, and request an election.

The 35 percent of employees who signed the cards do not necessarily want a union; they simply want an opportunity to consider the matter before casting a private vote. However, in response to the employees' efforts to prevent card-check recogni­tion, union organizers could submit additional signed cards they had collected from pro-union employees. If the combined total of cards col­lected—from both pro-union employees and unde­cided employees seeking to protect their privacy— was greater than 50 percent, the union would be recognized as the workers' exclusive representa­tive—without an election.

Under such circumstances, it is possible that only a paltry 16 percent of employees were in favor of union representation. After all, 49 percent of employees may have been outright hostile to the idea of organizing, while 35 percent—though undecided about representation—wanted to pro­tect their ability to make a decision in a private voting both. Yet, under EFCA, the NLRB would have to consider the 35 percent employees' signa­tures not as a decision to reserve a right to con­sider the matter privately, but as an overt gesture of union solidarity. Subsequently, EFCA provides an opportunity for a small minority of pro-labor employees to impose their agenda on a majority of employees who desire only to make a thoughtful, private decision.

Workers could not insist that they only wanted to vote in privacy and not recognize the union. Under EFCA, employees do not have that choice.

Anonymous said...

Here is the telephone (202.675.1761) number for the Heritage Foundation call and ask to speak to James Sherk and let them know that you would like to call him a bold face Republican liar and he hasn't a clue when it comes to the EFCA.

sue said...

my husband was fired from a plant 20 years ago, he demanded pay for hours he worked when called in for an emergency. The company fought it and finally fired him claiming he was trying to form a union. He went to the Labor Relations board in Philly, they were instantly interested in helping with this because of it being an issue with a union. My husband settled out of court and received a settlement, a small settlement, he should have fought those bastards all the way! Employers don't give a damn about their workers, we must stand for the workers every time!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

This shows the Republican Party has become a front for billionaires and the military industrial complex ( a 1970's term that hasn't lost its meaning). It's good to look back to the past sometimes. At no point in US history grew the middle class faster then during the days of the 'new deal'. a time of massive income redistribution. Also a time when enormous investments were made in infrastructure and education. It's high time america sees through the lies of the Republicans and the world will become all the better for it. Your Dutch friend, Robert

Pelmo said...

SCREW the unions. I didn't see them doing a damn thing about all those good paying factory jobs leaving this country.

Unions are all about themselves and could care less about their membership.

Anonymous said...

The reason unions were started was because of the companies who had a total disregard for their workers. Unions are meant to support their rank-and-file and are there to protect their workers with a decent living wage and benefits that are legitimately needed much to the chagrin of management of those companies. I have been a union member for over 34 years and I would not have been able to make a decent wage to support my family if it hadn't been for my union negotiating and threatening strikes to get a decent contract. Greed and corporate bonuses have overtaken workers' right over the 30 years (starting with Reagan's policies) and it is now time to unionize those workers who have not been protected and allow them to have a voice once again. Corporations have created a climate of fear and lies to stop their employees from unionizing and have even gone as far as firing those employees who have had the courage to try to unionize. It's time to right the wrongs of republican administrations who have raped and pillaged in the name of corporate profits.