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Support the Employee Free Choice Act

Posted by libhom Friday, November 14, 2008

AFL-CIO
Thanks to Some Notes on Living for reminding me that I need to blog on this issue.

Here's some info from the AFL-CIO about the Employee Free Choice Act.

WHAT IS THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT?

The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working people to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It would:

* Establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.

* Provide mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes (PDF).

* Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

The area that the corporate media are attacking the most is the last, usually refered to by both sides of the issue as "card check." Traditionally, employees get to vote on whether or not they want to be unionized by what is supposed to be secret ballot. However, employers use all sorts of intimidation tactics that cause problems for pro-union employees in the confrontational atmosphere of union authorization votes. The employers often fire union organizers and sometimes fire employees merely for saying they will vote for the union. Under current labor law, the worst the employers will have to face is giving the employees back pay and giving them their jobs back. Often, employees have to spend enormous amounts of time (and money if they don't get help from the union) to win even this back.

Card check allows a majority of employees to choose to be union without giving employers the chance to harass them directly or through union busting consultants. Labor laws in this country are highly anti union, and the standard of living for middle class Americans has suffered terribly for it. Even non union people get screwed over by this, since unionization tends to increase pay and benefits while improving working conditions throughout industries and localities.

Now that you have read the preceding two paragraphs, you can consider yourself inoculated from corporate media bs that will make card check sound downright sinister.

Please Sign the Petition Supporting the Employee Free Choice Act!

 

4 comments

  1. GDAEman Says:
  2. A step in the right direction. Lets hold Obama and the Dems to more than throwing out this bone.

     
  3. Joe Brock Says:
  4. DEar Liberal Homo (no offense meant)
    Have you ever been involved in a union drive where you work? While your argument is compelling, you're usuing rhetoric instead of facts. The truth can be found in the NLRB annual reports, which outlines charges filed by unions for such things like illegal firings. It happens in less than 2% of union campaigns. And that's only ALLEGATIONS of firings for supporting the union. Also, another argument is the delay process, which is laso a myth. The average time from petition to election is 38 days. I think that's about right.

    Even if your stats were correct, do you really think that the best thing for workers in this country is to take away their right to a secret-ballot vote? Don't you think that if their was legislation to remove the secret ballot election in any other form of election, that there's be rioting in the streets? If there are problems, fix the problems. Don't create more

     
  5. libhom Says:
  6. gdaeman: If people don't push hard for this, it will become the bone that is thrown because the unions will have to use up all their political capital. It goes back to the FDR quote you aptly use about making him do what needed to be done.

    Joe Brock: The claims that you make are based on stats that ideally would be sourced with a link. You also have to take into account that the NLRB has been anti union for the last 28 years, so their stats would be a bit questionable to say the least.

    I also looked at your blog, and your title mentions "union corruption." The corruption in corporations dwarfs that of unions, yet no one uses that to try to deligitimize corporations. Just the excessive CEO salaries and golden parachutes alone dwarf all the wrongdoing at unions.

    As someone who has worked both union and non union, I know how much better employees are off when they are unionized. The low rates of unionization in this country are a compelling piece of evidence that employee harassment and firings are quite effective and pervasive.

     
  7. Joe Brock Says:
  8. I'd link up the info to you thru the NLRB, but am unsure in how to do that on the comment board of a blog. As far as the NLRB being biased, both union and management sides both think that the Board is biased against them, so I tend to think that they're probably not so biased. The NLRB appointees are named by the President, so while they can mirror the current administrations beliefs, they cannot change election results. also, regional offices are often biased one way or the other. I'm from Philly, and when I was a union rep there, I enjoyed the benefit of the doubt there almost every time, no matter who ran D.C.

    The truth is, the fact that BOTH sides can try to intimidate and "lead" employees one way or the other is the argument FOR a secret-ballot election. How can you espouse taking away that right? I can certainly see your argument for change to the system if you happen to believe the unions argument that the system is broken, but no secret ballot?
    By the way...have you ever witnessed the NLRB election process itself? it's 100% free from manipulation from either side. Totally fair. Nobody can ever know your vote unless you tell them. What happens before the vote can be debated, but the vote itself is fair.
    One more point. If unions really made such a difference for workers when they join, people would join. They don't. Yes there are some awesome contracts out there, but if you look at those contracts, they're mostly companies that have been unionized for 50-100 years. I was the President of a large Teamsters Local union. My union fixed contract votes. They fixed shop steward elections, and they certainly fixed their own election of officers. They intimidate people in this election process. But they cannot fix this vote. Yet! Some employers also intimidate employees in this process. Again, why isn't that the argument FOR the secret-ballot election?

     

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