Archive for October 17th, 2008|Daily archive page

More on the undemocratic card check system

USA Today published an op-ed yesterday (“Our view on labor laws: No way to form a union“) opposing the euphemistically named “Employee Free Choice Act,” which, in Orwellian fashion, actually takes away employees’ free choice.  They rightly characterize the measure, which Obama supports and McCain opposes, misguided.

Currently, when union organizers get 30% of a company’s workers to sign unionization cards a democratic election is organized and held where all employees can vote by secret ballot on whether or not they want to unionize.  Union leaders and the employer get to campaign for the votes of the workers, who can try to persuade each other.  Everyone gets to be heard.  Under this law, however, if 50% of a company’s employees can be persuaded to sign cards a union will automatically be organized.

Cajoled choice is more like it. The proposed change would give unions and pro-union employees more incentive to use peer pressure, or worse, to persuade reluctant workers to sign their cards. And without elections, workers who weren’t contacted by union organizers would have no say in the final outcome.

The L.A. Times also editorialized against the law, back in 2007 when it was passed by the House:

Unions once supported the secret ballot for organization elections. They were right then and are wrong now. Unions have every right to a fair hearing, and the National Labor Relations Board should be more vigilant about attempts by employers to game the system. In the end, however, whether to unionize is up to the workers. A secret ballot ensures that their choice will be a free one.

But don’t just take their word for it.  George McGovern, a long time friend of labor rights, is opposed to the measure and appears in a television ad against it, as I recently blogged.  This measure is undemocratic; it is about increasing the power of labor leaders, not workers.

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