EFCA Update February 21-27

The Charlotte Business Journal exposed EFCA with a focus on the construction industrywhere, “the overwhelming majority of companies are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  The prospect of having the government dictate labor agreements would certainly discourage many would-be employers from ever starting up their own operations.  Such a chilling effect on start-ups could lead to the consolidation of the construction industry into a handful of large companies with the resources necessary to cope with government-directed labor agreements.”  Specifically, 20,000 construction (8%) workers lost their jobs in North Carolina – a right to work state with one of the lowest levels of unionized workforce in the country – since May 2008.

Andy Stern, President of SEIU, challenged the Chamber of Commerce to debate him on the Employee Free Choice Act.  The Center for Union Facts already challenged Americans Right to Work (a union-front organization) to a debate on EFCA awhile ago.  In fact, LaborPains.org even sent Stern a formal invitation to debate, but Stern, as expected, has not responded.

From the HR Daily Adviser:  “As an employer who has written about and practiced HR for the last 30 years, and as someone whose company started out with me as its sole employee, and now employs 150 people (plus at least that number of freelances, contract employees, and suppliers), I know that BLR as we know it wouldn’t have happened if we’d been unionized.  Fast, innovative growth in a complicated changing environment requires a lot of flexibility, and while unions have a lot to be said for them, flexibility isn’t one of their virtues.”  The article continues, “HR’s job must be to communicate with employees. . .  We have to do it NOW and not wait until a union is poking about the workplace, when changes can be seen as unfair labor practices.  A start in this process should be conducting an employee attitude survey.”  This advice is the same that I gave months ago.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union president J.J. Barry warned about “changing the system solely because of an effort stemming from the isolated complaints of a few [union employees'” when speaking to IBEW employees who wanted to unionize.  Mr. Barry continued, “The selection of a bargaining representative is likely to change the nature of the employer/employee relationship, by making it more formal and structured, and diminishing the present system of direct resolution of issues between Representatives and their Vice Presidents, Department Directors, etc.”  Click here to read the entire memo from Mr. Barry.

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win filed a complaint against the Center for Union Factsand the Marcus Foundation alleging that Richard Berman and Bernie Marcus (co-founder of Home Depot) took part in a call organized by Bank of Americato get corporate donors to fight against EFCA and this type of solicitation violates the tax status of the Center and the Foundation which requires that the Center and the Foundation not take part in political campaigns.  This lawsuit has really flown under the radar, but I’ll keep you updated should anything develop.

EFCA will cost blacks their jobs says the Black Chamber of Commerce.

“Union ranks are shrinking not because people are leaving them but because jobs are disappearing.  Most outdated union models cannot compete in the global environment in which we live.  They work where the market is captive and consumers have not been able to freely explore the best value” are words from a western Pennsylvania editorial.  Furthering this thought, unions are now openly targeting banks, restaurants, grocery stores, and health care institutions like never before since those jobs cannot be relocated.

For all of the unions who are now saying that EFCA will not eliminate secret ballot elections, the actual words of EFCA prohibits the NLRB from directing an election if the union turns in cards signed by the majority of employees.  Therefore, under EFCA, the only way to obtain a secret ballot election is if a union turns in cards from more than 30% of the employees but less than 50%.  All unions internally require at least 60% of the employees to sign cards before letting the NLRB know that there is an organizing drive going on – and some unions require at last 80% – because the unions know that once they request an election, the employers get to counter the propaganda the unions conveyed to the employees to sign the cards in the first place.  Once that propaganda is countered, inevitably, union support dwindles.

Obama and his advisers insist that they place national economic recovery over every other policy objective.  However, according to Mallory Factor on National Review Online, when it comes to labor policy, [Obama] supports measures that economic history indicates would significantly hinder such recovery.  “Experience shows the link between increased unionization and reduced job and income growth.  The ten states with the highest rates of private-sector union membership in 1997 had two-thirds less aggregate private-sector job growth by 2007 than did the ten states with the lowest rates.  The ten most unionized states had only half as much real personal income growth as the ten least.”

Adrienne Eaton, a professor at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations has studied the effect of card check laws in Canada and elsewhere.  She’s not sure if millions and millions of workers are going to unionize in the next few years, but did say that even though Obama has already issued several executive orders overturning Bush-era policies, and health care reform is a top priority, EFCA is far and away the most important union issue because of its potential impact on the way unions do business.

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