EFCA Updates February 14-20

Here is a quote from President Clinton’s Labor Secretary, Robert Reich.  “Unionization is not just good for workers and unions.  Unionization is very, very important for the economy overall and would create broad benefits for the United States.  If they did have higher wages and benefits, then they would have purchasing power they need to buy more of the goods and services that this economy produces.  That would strengthen the economy overall.”  Thankfully, Glenn Beck from FoxNews replied, “If unions are so great, wouldn’t that mean then Detroit would be Disney Worlds?  Should that be the most prosperous place on earth?”  Click here to read the transcript of an interview between Beck and Tim Phillips, President of the pro-union Americans for Prosperity which includes such commentary as to why Beck had to pay $450 for a water on stage at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia instead of being allowed to bring his own into the theatre.

In a long, but worthy read, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research discusses how card check changes the rules for collective bargaining.  Some snippet from the article:  “Unions claim that the NLRB election procedure is responsible for the steady decline in private-sector union membership.  They are mistaken.  The most recent statistics show that unions won 67% of such elections held during the first six months of 2008.”  Likewise, “One oft-repeated claim is that employers unlawfully fire 25% of employees who are active in union organizing campaigns.  The leading study containing this allegation is widely understood to overstate the problem, as it relies exclusively on unverified reports from union organizers whose bias is evident.  Professor Richard Epstein reviewed more recent and objective evidence, including NLRB statistics, suggesting that the statistical likelihood of an unlawful termination is actually less than 3%.”

The NLRB’s jurisdictional standards have been in effect since 1959 and currently, any non-retail business with revenues (not profits) over $50,000 from interstate operations is eligible for unionization.  Compare that to the Small Business Administration’s “Size Standards” that consider non-farm businesses with less than $10 million to be small businesses.  Why does this matter?  Because there are roughly 1.8 million small businesses employing 31 million Americans that are eligible for unionization under EFCA.  Clearly, it’s not just the big, rich, powerful corporations that will be affected by EFCA like the unions want us to believe.

In an editorial, Tennessee’s leading small business association reminds Tennesseans that it doesn’t matter that Tennessee is a right-to-work state with only 5.5% unionization, EFCA will make it harder for businesses to grow and create jobs.  The article states, “People seem to think that anyone who owns a business is rich, but there’s a big difference between an auto-plant and a repair shop.  The truth is small business owners work for a living.  They do the books, but they also sweep up and take out the trash.  They’re struggling with everything from higher fuel costs to finding – and keeping – affordable health insurance.  Small business owners take pride in the work they do and in treating their employees fairly.  They’re not making piles of money, but they believe in taking care of the people who work for them.”

North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan is prepared to vote in favor of EFCA even though North Carolina is considered the nation’s least union-friendly state.

Labor officials might compromise to abolish secret ballots in union representation election in exchange for passage of a new compulsory arbitration system.  This type of compromise may enable Democrats to “ram through arbitration measures that would have dire economic consequences.”

Employment Law Alliance poll shows that the vast majority of Americans are uninformed about EFCA.  In fact, only 25% of Americans polled repoprted that they were aware of EFCA.  This is troubling, but about what I expected.  I am amazed at how few people know the specifics of EFCA and how it will affect their companies.  Dr. Ted Reed, President of Reed Group and the survey director for the poll said the survey may be revealing a disconnection between the perceptions of EFCA within and outside the Washington Beltway on both sides of the issue.

Here are some musings from Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, Standford University: 

  1. How can a President of the United States be re-elected in a landslide after four years when unemployment never fell below 15 percent for even one month during his first term?  Franklin D. Roosevelt did it by blaming it all on the previous administration.  Barack Obama may be able to achieve the same result the same way. 
  2. Democrats could sell refrigerators to Eskimos before Republicans could sell them blankets.
  3. More frightening to me than any policy or politician is the ease with which the public is played for fools with words.  The latest example is the “Employee Free Choice Act,” a bill that will do away with secret ballot elections among workers voting on whether to be represented by a union.  It is an open invitation to intimidation – which is to say, loss of freedom of choice.
  4. I realized how far behind the times I am when I saw a TV commercial for some weight-loss product, showing Marie Osmond “before” and “after.”  I thought she looked great “before.”
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