Wednesday, March 11, 2009

False Choice

I am pro-union, at least that aspect of unionism that includes collective bargaining. I am so in favor of it that I believe that it should be a federally mandated requirement of incorporation that collective bargaining with employees be one of the articles of incorporation. No company in this nation large enough to need the structure of incorporation should be allowed to do business without it. Such a requirement would be good for the workers, for business, and for society.

Rachel Maddow espouses a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act in the following segment. This is a bill loved by labor unions and hated by business groups that makes it easier for unions to gain access to representation of business.

This may be some of the most slanted, dishonest “reporting” I have ever witnessed. Maddow repeatedly says that this act “makes it easier for Americans to join unions.” That's a nice phrase that she came up with to sell you on what a wonderful bill this is. Actually, the bill makes it easier for labor organizations to unionize businesses, and that is by no means the same thing. She has a guy on from the “union busters” who tells a horrible tale about trained professionals who travel the nation assisting businesses resist organizing efforts. He freely admits that they flagrantly break existing laws in the process.

What she doesn’t tell you is that the attempt to organize the business is virtually never made spontaneously by a group of good-hearted employees of the business. The effort is made by a group of trained, paid professional organizers sent in by the labor union, and they are every bit as ruthless in their efforts to unionize the business as the “union busters” whom Maddow decries are to prevent it.

It is undoubtedly true than business has the advantage at this point in the unionization battle (which, I submit, should not be a battle at all), but the solution does not lie in giving countervailing advantage to organized labor. When you have advantage business countered by advantage labor who is in the middle, getting squeezed and losing? Right, the workers.

The solution is to take away the advantage currently enjoyed by business. The union buster on Maddow’s show freely admitted that to enjoy this advantage businesses are flagrantly breaking laws, so enforce the laws. Create new laws as needed, but protect the worker, don’t put that worker in the middle of a squeeze play.

Maddow says that the worker “still has the choice of a secret ballot election if they want one.” That is her other little song, sung repeatedly, to convince you what a wonderful bill this is. The problem with that is you have to tell the union organizer that you want one, and he doesn’t want to hear that. He is here (and away from his home and family, by the bye) for one purpose, and that is to organize the company you work for. Your choice of a secret ballot keeps him here longer and jeopardizes his success. Your signature for organization is what he wants, and he knows the choice you're making.

How can that not lead to threats and intimidation?

We know, in fact, that it can because history tells us that it did. The original labor act called for organization to consist of a signup process that was open, and it was changed to a secret ballot because of the threats and intimidation that the open process created. The unions, I believe, tended to win those open processes because they were the more thuggish and violent, so that may very well be the reason they want to return to it. The “good old days” were not the good old days.

The question itself is an idiotic one. "Do you want a secret ballot election?" Why would the workers not want a secret ballot election? In what possible way does a secret ballot election serve to the workers disadvantage? How, in God's name can a secret ballot election possibly harm workers? There is just no possible way that this bill is written for the benefit of workers.

We need organization reform, but “card check” is not it.

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