Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

Well, there’s not much to report in the land of EFCA from the last week.  All is rather quiet on the that front since Senators Lincoln and Specter denounced their support of EFCA in its current form.  While the business world is taking a big sigh of relief and awaiting the many versions of the compromise bill to be bantered about, Unions have increased their marketing and advertising.  In fact, Unions are still acting like they have tremendous support for the bill and that it will pass with no problem.  News to them: there has already been a problem with the bill and it will not pass in its current form.  Here are a few noteworthy items, though:

Last month the card check process tore the Dana Corporation Auto Parts plant in Albion, Indiana apart after harassment and intimidation from the UAW to get people to sign cards.  Here’s a video from some of the intimidated employees:

Mitt Romney chronicles how he vetoed card-check for public employees, but once he left office, his Democrat successor signed it into law.  His story is a warning for all card-check supporters.

You may have heard about the Costco/Starbucks/Whole Foods “Third Way” approach to EFCA.  Here are its details.  A self-described “pro-labor liberal Democrat” attorney from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff, an international law firm that represents companies, partnered with those three companies and proposed an EFCA free of card check and other restraints while still “substantially leveling the playing field for union organizers, improve their access to employees, and provide a fair chance to make their case for a union election.”  Here are the details of the “Third Way”:

II. Statement of Principles of Reform “Third Way” Legislation:

(1) Secret Ballot. Guarantee the right of management and unions to require a secret ballot under all circumstances.

(2) Certification and Decertification Treated Equally. Permit management to initiate a decertification campaign through a secret ballot election just as employees and unions are presently able to initiate certification and decertification campaigns.

(3) Date Certain for Elections. Guarantee a fixed time period for the secret-ballot election–i.e., do not permit delays of an established day for a secret ballot to certify or decertify a union.

(4) Equal Access to Employees for Campaign Purposes. Level playing field for unions and management to access employees during non-working hours during the campaign period, e.g., permitting each to make presentations to employees at a neutral location concerning the issue of whether to form a union.

(5) Expedited Enforcement and Stricter Penalties. Expedited enforcement for serious and pervasive violations of law by labor and management and stricter penalties for serious and pervasive violations (e.g., unlawful discharges), including the penalty of mandatory injunctions when appropriate.

(6) Preserve Private Collective Bargaining. No mandatory arbitration that dictates contract terms, but stricter penalties and expedited enforcement for violations of good faith bargaining rules, including an expedited timetable to begin bargaining after union certification.

Here’s a couple of snippets from the SEIU’s blog that distorts both the need for EFCA and the role of business.  According to the article, “The area’s fractured employment model has turned a recession into a depression.  There are now tens of thousands of laid off warehouse workers with no unemployment, no safety net at all, just barely getting by.”  No unemployment?  Unemployment is run by each state individually and has nothing to do with businesses.  The fact that California doesn’t have any money in the unemployment coffers is not a result of businesses.  The article continues, “As conditions worsen in the Inland Empire, the big retail companies that created the broken business model have not accepted responsibility for the damage they have done.”  How has the employer done this?  If employers pay employees substantially more money and tremendously greater benefits like Unions want, companies would run out of money quicker and the employees would be unemployed faster.  The article continues, “It is time for Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and Sear/Kmart to take responsibility for the workers who helped them become so profitable and to treat them with dignity and respect.”  Employees at those companies, like the 92.5% of the other companies in this country, choose not to unionize.  The SEIU wants us to believe all employees want to be in unions.  That’s just plain wrong.

Here’s a great article on How EFCA could change Health Care for the worse from Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

And finally, a little over a month ago, Rasmussen Reports did a survey on how many non-union workers want to join a union.  Not surprising, just 9% of those polled said they wanted to be in a union.

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UPS Workers Cry Union Intimidation

Here is just one situation that sheds light on the intimidation and harassment that employees endure during card check organization drives – the same card check drives that are a part of the Employee Free Choice Act.

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges against Teamsters Local 776 for initiating a coercive organizing drive to unionize a UPS Freight facility. 

Here’s the legalese of the situation.  Initially, the workers rejected the union through a secret ballot election.  After the union was rejected by the employees, the Teamsters again tried to organize them through a “card check” organizing drive.  The Teamsters claimed they had a majority of the employees sign a card and presented those cards to management and demanded that UPS recognize the union as the bargaining representatives for the employees.  The employees immediately tried to decertify the union through an election, but the Board ruled that only one election could take place per year.

Under the Dana/Metadyne decision, employees have the right todemand a secret ballot election immediately following unionization via card check organizing as a way to counteract the employee intimidation and harassment at the hands of aggressive union operatives that frequently occurs during card check campaigns.  But, the NLRB said that only one secret ballot election could take place in any given bargaining unit during a 12-month period.  Therefore, these UPS workers were denied the opportunity to vote out the union.

This lawsuit has major implications across a wide range of labor laws, and I will keep everyone on top of the decisions as they are released.  Thank you NRTW for this update.

Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

We’ll start off today’s EFCAUpdate with a video where Stern, President of the SEIU, says that his union has saved millions of dollars to unelectDemocrats who did not live up with their promise to vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act.

 

When will EFCA be introduced is anyone’s guess, although most agree it will be sometime in 2009.  Obama and Biden think it will be on hold until the fall, and it looks like Obama’s pro-labor executive orderswere an overt act to pacify the unions for several months.  In fact, Biden believes it will be done “This year.  This year we hope.  Our expectation is this year, this calendar year.”  Thank you for your clarity, VP Biden.  House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) says House action won’t start until Spring or Summer.  Senate Majority Reid (D-NV) said that that Senate won’t see it until the Summer.  Here’s a video of Biden discussing EFCA.

 

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplaceconducted a straight forward, two-question survey to determine support levels for EFCA.  The Ohio Employers Law Blog did a great recap of the results indicating that most people do not want EFCA.  Click here to see those results.

Obamatapped New Hampshire Republican Senator Gregg to head the Department of Commerce, which meant his Senate seat needed filled.  We’ve all learned about filling a Senate seat: Blago, anyone?  So, it became a foregone conclusion that Gregg’s seat would be filled by a Democrat, since New Hampshire’s Governor is a Democrat.  Filling Gregg’s seat with a Democrat would put the Dems at the supermajority number of 60 Senators where filibustering legislation (the Republican Senators’ defense to EFCA last time) would be impossible.  Not so fast!  Gregg made sure that his seat would be filled with a Republican before accepting the position with the Dept. of Commerce.  So now, Bonnie Newman – someone who has never held elected office and does not have any official positions on any major issues, i.e. Employee Free Choice Act – will fill Gregg’s seat and presumably vote against EFCA.  Remember, though, even with 59 Republican Senators, EFCA will likely pass since Arlen Spector (R-PA) voted in favor of it last time.

I laughed when I read that the AFL-CIO’s new video (narrated by the executive VP of the union) was intended to “cut through the deceptive campaign and give the facts about the Employee Free Choice Act.”  The video has a cameo spot, too, from the executive director of the union-fronted organization American Rights at Work to “cut through the spin” of corporate America.  This video is supposedly being featured at union meetings and around the country – why are they showing union members how “the system for forming unions is broken.”  Seems like members of unions, who already went through the system be become unionized, wouldn’t necessarily think that the system was broken.  Here’s the video:

 

On the anniversary of the last EFCAattempt, unions symbolically held a rally in Washington D.C. and supposedly brought with them 1.5 million signatures of people who supported the Employee Free Choice Act.  Also present was Rep. George Miller (D-CA) who co-sponsored the last bill and said: “decisions aboutthe workplace belong to the worker.”  Excuse me?  What aboutthe owner?  What aboutthe person who lives, breathes, and sleeps the business; the person who mortgaged his house to start the company; the person who risks to lose everything when the market dried up, a catastrophic injury occurs, malicious Internet press abouthis company surfaces?  Since when should the workers be the ones to make the decisions about someone else’s company, Representative Miller?

Interestingly, 1 million signatures would represent 1/16 of the current total unionized workforce in America.  Conversely, EFCA threatens the right to a secret ballot for 105 million Americans – well beyond the 69 million who voted in the last presidential election.  If the unions could only drum up enough interest from 1 out of every 16 of their own members to sign a petition, I hardly think that EFCA is something that the public at large is interested in seeing passed in Congress.  And I wonder how many of those signatures are from people who do not belong to unions.  No one has (or likely will ever) challenge the purported number of signatures to make sure they are legitimate.  In all, this is just a bunch of propaganda, an advertisement that will not be scrutinized, by 6% of the unionized workforce wanting us to believe that they represent the 105 million people currently working in America.

The AFL-CIO uses some “real life examples” of why employees need unions.  One of them is Theresa Gares who says, “Once [her company] found out we were trying to organize a union, they started having meetings.  They’re trying to talk people out of it, discourage them.  This is what we’re fighting for: We’re fighting for fairness in the workplace, a voice in the workplace, things that we deserve.”  Are you kidding me?  Ms. Gares is the union’s marquee spokesperson and all she has to say is the company “started having meetings.”  And this is the intimidation that unions claim is happening and why employees need EFCA?

LaborPains.org is always good for an entry here each week, and this week doesn’t let us down, either when highlighting who is against EFCA.  Some of the more notable names include: 

  • George McGovern, former senator from South Dakota and the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate
  • Rev. Al Sharton, American Baptist minister, political and civil rights/social justice activist, and radio talk show host
  • Richard Epstein, professor of Law at the University of Chicago who says, “There is simply no legitimate government interest in promoting unionization that justifies a clandestine organizing campaign which denies all speech rights to the union’ adversaries.”
  • Ariella Bernstein, former deputy director of public affairs at FMCS and a field examiner and supervisor at the NLRB who says, “I am a Democrat who has worked at both the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, two agencies that figure prominently in this legislation [Employee Free Choice Act].”

Fox Rothschild’s Employment blog out of Philadelphia set the record straight about the elimination of secret ballots when it said: “The reality is that once Unions are given the option of having the NLRB certify a union immediately upon presentation of at least a majority of union authorization cards signed by a specific unit of employees versus waiting some 40 days, whereby employees become educated during this period, and then having a secret ballot election, Unions ar going to avoid, at all cost, the election route.  I mean, why do you think the Unions’ have placed so much money, time, and effort in seeing that the EFCA passes?  is it because the EFCAcalls for mandatory injunctions?  I think not.  How about the mandatory contract arbitration?  Yeah, could be, but without a certification, there can be no representative or contract for that matter.  So, there is no “misinformation” being spread – just realty, which is that once a “card-check” certification is in place, the secret ballot election may die.”

This former “rank and file” employee enlightens people as to what it’s like to work a union job when he says: “As a young man I was forced to join a union when I was working in a job I dearly loved.  Even with the secret ballot in place, the intimidation by the union and the sycophantsworking with them was tremendous.  Almost immediately upon the union being voted in, the productivity of our work dropped precipitously.  People I had known for years cut the pace of their work activities by 25 to 33%.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to slow down – that I worked too hard and too fast.  After a year of this, I resigned my position without a job.  I was ashamed of what was happening to a company I loved.  The owners of this very large business in my home town gave up as well just a few years later and sold the business.”  He went on to discuss the difference of productivity in right to work states, “I once met a gentleman here in Jacksonville that owned a unionized plan in the north and a non-unionized plant in the south and in his words the difference in productivity was start.  He eventually moved all the work to the south and closed the other plant.”

Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

ALF-CIO alleges that bailout recipients AIG and Bank of America were involved in a conference call for lobbyists and corporations to discuss raising funds to defeat EFCA.  From that, the union is alleging that bailout money was used to plot against Employee Free Choice.

American Rights at Work launched the below television commercial called “The Secret Big Business Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

 

The SEIU’s plan to shorten recover from this down economy is a shortened workweek and less productivity from employees.  Accordingly, an employer who currently offers no paid vacation can offer 3 weeks of paid vacation, approximately a 6%  reduction in work time.  Employers can cut the standard work week from40 hours to 36 hours, a 10% reduction in work hours.  These policies would “bring the US in line with the rest of the world.”  Newsflash to the SEIU – we’re America, not the rest of the world.  The rest of the world looks to us for leadership, protection, and guidance.  Diluting our productivity and companies is not the right solution for a viable, stable economy.

Human Rights Watch, the union-described watchdogs of human rights and the freedom of association, claims that the US is deficient in protecting the freedom to form unions.  Oddly, the HRW’s findings is comprised of the typical union slang: “unfair election procedures that are badly slanted toward employers; the lack of serious penalties for corporate misconduct, including firing workers; and the ability of companies to ignore workers’ choice to bargain collectively.”

Last week a lot of discussion dealt with Obama’s interview with the Washington Post and whether Obama really meant that he is tabling EFCA for some time.  The short answer is he is not tabling EFCA.  The Washington Postonly quoted 28 of the 611 words Obama gave on the matter

In March 2008 MIT Sloan School of Management released the results of a comprehensive study about unionization.  The study’s results concluded that few bargaining units make it from initial petition to a first contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the chances of getting a contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the changes of getting to an election; and even after a majority votes for a union, many units fail to get a contract.  What text of the results is slanted with the typical pro-union rhetoric about “the need for EFCA to level the playing field.”  What is not reported, though, is that under the current state of the law, only after an initial petition are companies allowed to openly campaign against unions.  For example, a union will promise an employee a 3% wage increase  if the employee signs an authorization card.  With enough cards signed, a petition is filed.  After the petition is filed, the employee hears that although the union promised him a 3% wage increase, the union does not have the power to do increase wages, and wages for all employees are subject to bargaining and could go up, stay the same, or go down.  In other words, many of the promises given to employees to sign cards are later exposed as not true and employees then decide not to vote for the union.  So, I am not surprised with the small number of bargaining units that make it from the initial petition to a first contract, and the removal of educating the employees about the lack of truth behind all of the union’s promises will be prohibited if EFCA passes.

Watch (well, really listen while watching SEIU photographs) Obama discuss his support for easing the ability to unionize and how business that oppose this notion “won’t get to far” with him.

 

I want to clear up a misunderstanding that was published in a mostly unbiased article in the Boston Globe about the Employee Free Choice Act.  The article says that the National Labor Relations Act lacks any real penalties to punish violators for wrongly terminating union supporters during organizing campaigns beyond making companies rehire those employees and pay them back wages.  This is not true.  With egregious enough violations of labor laws, the National Labor Relations Board has the ability to not hold an election and to order both sides to immediately begin negotiating a contract.  Unfortunately, the Globe’s article recited union propaganda about the weaknesses of the NLRA.

I couldn’t say it any better than this editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal:  “But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?

The State of Michigan should support EFCA.  With the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, Michigan would be just as attractive of state as a southern, right to work state would be to house a company.  In 2007, 19.5% of Michigan workers belonged to unions.  Conversely, the following are statistics in unionization for southern states: Alabama = 9.5%; Mississippi = 6.7%; Florida = 5.9%; Texas = 4.7%; Georgia = 4.4%; South Carolina = 4.1%.

Another editorial that took the words right out of my mouth: “If businesses are hurt, so are their workers; When businesses fail, workers lose their jobs.  And when workers aren’t treated well, businesses do not thrive.  The interests of workers and business owners are not in conflict – they coincide.  But it is in the interest of union bosses to foment conflict – it leads to more unions being formed and greater revenue for their coffers;  When workers are forced to declare their allegiance to a union in the open, they are far more subject to intimidation and coercion than when they make this decision in private.  It is no coincidence that, when private-ballot elections are used, fewer workers vote in favor of union than when they are asked to publicly sign a card; Many heavily unionized industries in the Midwest have been declining for decades.  Businesses in Florida and other Southern states, where unions have not been as strong, have been thriving during this time.”

Because unions are not democratic, they’re socialistic, a poll of 1000 likely voters with a subsample of 400 union households, results show that most people oppose EFCA

  • Three out of four voters (74%) oppose the “The Employee Free Choice Act.” Union households also strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, 74% oppose to only 20% support.
  • When given a more detailed description of the Employee Free Choice Act, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, 86%, feel the process should remain private and only 8% feel it should be public information. Again, even union workers feel strongly that the process should be kept private, as 88% said private and only 8% said public.
  • Four out of five voters, or 82%, favor having a federally supervised election as a means to “protect the individual rights of workers.” The voters clearly see this as a basic right, especially given that only 11% of voters feel the card check would be the best way to protect the individual rights of workers. Support increases to 85% among union households.
  • The majority (52% to 26%) of American voters believe that the Employee Free Choice Act is not good for job creation. Even among union households, the plurality (48%) believes that the Employee Free Choice Act will cost America jobs.
  • In the current economic climate, 52% of voters are particularly opposed to any measure that would risk jobs or job growth.
  • Further exemplifying the electorates’ distaste for the Employee Free Choice Act, 71% agreed that this legislation would be “unwise” and “risky.” In today’s economic climate, the electorate has little confidence in the federal government’s ability to make such major business decisions.
  • The National Right to Work Act was introduced last week in an effort to remove compulsory unionism.  In other words, every state in America would be like the south – right to work states where employees have the choice to join a union or not.  Here is a video of Senator DeMint (R-SC):

     

    When speaking about a potential Card Check Compromise, Sen. DeMint said, Democrats could, “go out with a secret ballot and be magnanimous and withdraw it.  Then some Republicans may breathe a sigh of relief and vote for arbitration,” which “could actually be worse in the way it slows decision making” because arbitration rulings (in Michigan) take on average 15 months to be rendered.

    In another South Carolina entry today, an entrepreneur/legislator, State Rep. Eric M. Bedingfield wrote, “I recently introduced a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of workers to a secret ballot in union-organizing election (H3305).

    Lew Ebert, the President and CEO of North Carolina Chamber reminds us that “Congress replaced the card check system with secret-ballot elections in 1947 after workers were coerced, intimidated, and in many instances beaten up and forced to join labor organization against their will.  Yet, 60 years later, we find Congress poised to deliver back to unions the same substandard system that exploited workers and proved grossly ineffective.”  Thank you to the Carolinas for helping us fight the battle against forced unionization!

    Another entreprenuer speaks about the damaging effects of EFCA.  “Small businesses already are near the breaking point as they try to cope with the crippling credit crunch, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and paralyzing recession.  Meanwhile, organized labor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in political campaigns.”

    Here’s another entrepreneur’s viewpoint of how EFCA will kill small businesses:  “In fiscal year 2005, more than 20 percent of elections conducted by the NLRB involved bargaining units of 10 employees or fewer, while a full 70 percent involved bargaining units of 50 employees or fewer.”  He recently asked a business owner with 24 employees what he would do if overnight he was told he became unionized, and the response was “shut down shortly thereafter.”  This is a typical response.  Unfortunately, the NLRB has the right and power to force a company to re-open, rehire all employees, pay them back wages, and continue operating as a unionized company for as long as the NLRB feels is appropriate.  Companies cannot simply shut down and start another company as a non-union company.

    Thanks to LaborPains.org for this information:  American Rights at Work opined that “from 2000 to 2007, income for the median working-age household actually dropped $2,000 after inflation.”  According to LaborPains.org, “This is nothing new.  There are these events called recessions – ever heard of them.  Besides this period, there was also medial income stagnation from 53-54, 57-58, 70-71, 73-77, 79-85, and 89-93.  Notice that many of these years are the “good old days” of unions. . . The study finishes off with the usual: everyone wants to join a union but can’t because of intimidation according to (union-funded) research.  Nothing new to read here.”  Thanks for the detail, and for the sarcasm LaborPain.org!

    The AFL-CIO headlines: “Union Membership Grows in 2008. When People Can Join Unions, They Do.”  In fact, membership grew for the second straight year in a row.  So, I ask, why do unions need EFCA?  If unions win 60% of their elections, and their membership has grown the last two years, why is Obama, Democrat Congressmen, and Labor Unions all crying that our country needs to ease the ability for employees to unionize?

    I’ll end today’s EFCA Update on a sour note.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the increase in unionized workers in 2007 and 2008 “demonstrates that workers see unions, and higher job standards, benefits, and protections they provide, as a key solution in this struggling economy.”  I don’t see that.  The economy (other than home sales) wasn’t necessarily struggling in 2007 and there weren’t the mass layoffs in 2007 or 2008 that there are now.  The Bureau continues, “The uptick further points to the strengths of unionized workplaces – where labor and management work together as a team, they are able to tackle challenges and better withstand an economic downturn.”  Really?  Ever heard of the Big Three?  What about Boeing’s strike that resulted in 10,000 employees being laid off?  Or the 22,000 UAW represented employees that Caterpillar is laying off?  The list continues, but my point has been made.  My last bones to pick with the Bureau is its claim that “25 percent [of employers] even fire pro-union workers organizing campaigns.”  Where does that stat come from?  Oh wait, it’s not the BLS reporting that, it’s fancy writing from the labor-fronted American Rights at Work to sound like it’s the government reporting that!

    What If Wednesdays

    In an effort to not have this blog become solely a reporter of the current events surrounding labor law, Wednesdays will now be dedicated to discussing what if certain things in the world of labor happen to you.  For instance, what to do if you are being picketed; what to do if your employees walk off the job; what to do if a union business agent shows up to your office with a box of authorization cards and says he now represents a majority of your employees.

     

    Today we will start with the last example: what to do if a union business agent either calls you on the phone or shows up at your office with a stack of authorization cards claiming that he represents a majority of your employees.

     

    For background perspective, if a union says that a majority of your employees have signed an authorization card, the union is probably telling the truth.  Unions don’t bother going public that they have cards signed until they have well over a  majority of the cards signed – usually near 80% of their defined bargaining unit.  Why?

     

    Simple.  Once an organizing campaign begins, the support for the union deteriorates.  So, unions build in a cushion knowing that they will lose support between the beginning a campaign and an election.  The end goal for a union is 50% + 1 of those employees who show up to vote.

     

    If the business agent simply calls you on the phone, you are under no obligation to speak with him.  Simply tell him that you do not believe what he is telling you to be the truth, and hang up the phone.  Just because the agent says he has a majority of cards signed, doesn’t mean he’s telling you the truth, and you have every right to hang up on him like you would anyone else who is harassing you at work.

     

    If the agent shows up to your office, he will likely try to get you to hold the authorization cards.  Don’t touch them.  Don’t even look at them.  By touching or looking at them you run the risk of seeing who signed them and then if you take any disciplinary action against any of those employees, even for legitimate reasons, the union will cry foul claiming that you disciplined that person because you knew he/she was a union supporter.  Simply tell the business agent that you do not believe he has a majority of support and escort him out of the office making sure the agent takes all of the cards with him.  If he refuses to leave, he is a trespasser like any other person refusing to leave your property; call the police if you feel threatened or if the agent further refuses to leave.

     

    So why is it that I said unions will have about 80% of the cards signed before going public with the signatures, but you’re supposed to say you don’t believe the agent that he has those signatures?  Because there is always room for interpretation as to whether the union has included the right people in the bargaining unit, or whether the unit should be more inclusive or less inclusive.  Or, the signatures could be from people who no longer work at your company.  But most importantly, if you recognize the union now, you forfeit your right to have an election (which EFCA is trying to forfeit anyway), you forfeit your right to tell your employees why they should not vote for the union, and you forfeit your right to appeal the outcome of an election.

     

    I will continue this What To Do series every Wednesday.  But, if you have a situation that you would like to see how to respond to, please e-mail me your thoughts.  I will keep your contact information confidential when posting practical ways to respond to your question.

     

    Here’s the disclaimer that I’m required to include:  Nothing in this blog post creates an attorney-client relationship nor should it be considered legal advice.

    Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

     

    A lot of the discussion throughout the country last week was whether the Employee Free Choice Act would be passed in Obama’s first 100 days and in what form will it pass.

    Will EFCA Pass in Obama’s First 100 Days?

    An editor of the International Socialist Review opines that Democrats are moving toward delaying the introduction of EFCA.

    Congressional leaders have indicated that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is not their first priority.

    Business leaders took great comfort when Obama told The Washington Post last week that he was wary of pressing for the union measure ahead of broader economic needs.

    Despite Obama’s comment about putting EFCA on the backburner, a variety of administration and labor sources all indicated that there is no reason to believe that the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress aren’t proceeding along the expected track.

    Harry Reid said he would like the Senate to take up EFCA this summer.

    Rep. George Miller, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives labor committee told Reuters in an interview as the 111th Congress got underway that “there are things that may be more urgent because of circumstances beyond our control.  That doesn’t diminish the urgency I feel or the supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act feel…I am quite comfortable that EFCA is going to receive timely treatment.

    Will EFCA be Modified to Ensure it Passes?

    CNN Money reminds us that EFCA is about power, but a former AFL-CIO organizing director and former president and vice chairman of Bethlehem Steel and general counsel for the Labor Department during the Nixon and Ford administrations may have reached a compromise on what the legislation should look like.

    A former Governor of Virginia and one of the state’s most powerful Democrats finds the secret ballot part of EFCA troubling.

    T.A. Frank, a liberal author, believes that increasing the financial and other penalties against companies for violating labor laws during union elections would remove the need for EFCA.

    Because many believe that EFCA would easily pass the House but falls a vote or two shy of certain passage in the Senate, a compromise, like retaining secret ballots but speeding up various time limits or altering other provisions in ways that would still aid unionization drives, is likely.

    Other Articles Regarding EFCA

    Is card check certification Obama’s Hiliary Care?  In other words, President Clinton was seen to overreach in his first two years by pursuing initiatives such as Hilary Care, nationalized health care, and the voters severely punished the Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections by handing control of the Senate and House of Representatives to the Republicans for the first time since 1954.

    Despite currently supporting EFCA, in 2007, the Obama nominee for Labor Secretary, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), protested that a secret ballot should be used by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to pick its new chairman.   Likewise, in 1998, the AFL-CIO, UAW, and others told the NLRB that secret ballots were essential when workers decide whether to decertify a union saying, “Other mean of decision-making are not comparable to the privacy and indepedence of the voting booth,” and that secret ballots provide the best way to avoid “the result of group pressures and not individual decision.”

    Mike Eastman, executive director of labor policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington says that EFCA has a better chance of being defeated rather than passed, since so many businesses are lobbying against it.  Although refreshing to hear, Mr. Eastman is in the extreme minority of people with this belief.

    The U.S. Chamber is switching its strategy in fighting EFCA from highlighting how the bill eliminates secret ballots to focusing on the binding arbitration aspect of the bill.

    The Montana Chamber of Commerce reminds us that the bill is ironically called the Employee Free Choice Act but is far from being pro-worker.

    Remember the group Save Our Secret Ballot – the group of states that are trying to change their constitutions as a way  around EFCA?  That group is “fairly confident” that state constitutional amendments “would hold up” under federal court challenges says former South Dakota Attorney General Mark Meierhenry.

    The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, a federation of 500 business groups, are actively campaigning against EFCA.

    National Right to Work Foundation launced an online petition to Obama advising him that his election did not give him a mandate to impose draconian policies that will dramatically increase the power and money of the Big Labor Bosses and would like everyone who is against EFCA to sign a petition.  The petition can be found here.

    This brief letter to the editor succinctly reminds us how the current NLRA achieves its purpose of unionizing workforces, since unions win 60% of elections with secret ballots.

    Small business owners typically think they won’t have to contend with union organizers in the workplace because it’s not worth the union’s time to mount a month-or year-long campaign to represent a handful of office workers.  Wrong!

    This small business owner from Raleigh, North Carolina is deeply concerned about EFCA’s ramifications.

    This is one of those articles that anger me.  The Employee Free Choice Act would not have saved Circuit City.  Circuit City did not put profits over people – it went bankrupt because it didn’t have any profits.  And the spirit of the collective bargaining process does not bind workers and management together as partners.  It pits them against each other and creates an “us v. them” mentality.

    Chris Fisher, Executive Director of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan reminds us of the dangers associated with union pension and health-care funds because they are oftentimes underfunded.

    Jerry Warlow couldn’t have said it any better.  “The union’s push for this bill is not driven by unfairness of a traditional secret ballot or widespread injustices.  It is because union ranks are shrinking dramatically.  The United Auto Workers at its peak had 1.5 million members.  Today it has just more than 450,000.  What is really important to today’s unions?  Union dues.”  After being around unions for years and negotiating many contracts against many different unions, Mr. Warlow hit the nail on the head.

    Appropriate for Super Bowl week:  Isn’t EFCA just a “hail mary” for unions to get back into the game?

    Today Ends EFCA Update Week

    I hope you have enjoyed catching up on all things EFCA this week.  So many people ask me what’s going on with EFCA, what are the unions saying about EFCA, do I think EFCA will pass, etc. that I think a week dedicated to EFCA is informative for everyone.  Hopefully those of you who still thought EFCA wasn’t a big deal, now realize it’s huge but just not getting much mainstream media coverage.  And for you who have always been watching it brew and approach our country, it’s time to prepare for it now.  Educate those around you.  Educate your employees.  And continue to educate yourself about the impact that the Obama Administration will have on the labor laws of this country.

     

    Here is the anti-unions’ Center for Union Facts’ “Resolutions for Union Officials” which covered a full-page ad in the New York Times. 

     

    This article from the Las Vegas Business Press reminds us that small businesses are most susceptible to unionization.  Although this article is long, it is worth the read.

     

    The SEIU claims EFCA will create wealth and prosperity in our country.  Much of the thought is that between 1940s and 1970s was one of the most prosperous times in our country’s history and when unionization was at its height.  Unions want to revert back to those times without looking at where we are now in large measure because of those times:  the UAW purchased the retirement health insurance (in simplified terms) because the Big Three couldn’t afford it anymore; the Big Three need bailed out just to stay in business a few more months (except for Ford who “mortaged” everything it owned, including its logo to creditors); the steel industry is a fraction of what it used to be; the rubber workers no longer make most of the tires in this country; the list goes on and it’s mostly because of the 1940s-1970s.

     

    This Pennsylvania newspaper article chastises Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) for being the only Republican in support of EFCA, especially because he is from a heavily industrial state.

     

    EFCA will be a “firestorm” in the Senate because depending on who you speak to on any given day, Republicans either have exactly the number needed or are 1 vote shy of being able to filibuster EFCA.

     

    This is another article about the devastating effects EFCA will have on small businesses.  The author opines that EFCA will force many entrepreneurs to decide whether they can afford to grow, add jobs, or even stay in business.

     

    Former Rep. David Bonior, a member of Obama’s economic transition team, named EFCA as a way Obama can help get the economy back on track.

     

     

     

    No one, including Mitt Romney, believes that the answer to EFCA is for a company to move its operations outside the United States, even though that’s what many companies are threatening to do if EFCA passes.  Which raises 2 points.  1) the Patriot Employer Act isn’t enough to keep companies in a union-heavy America; and 2) Unions would rather see a company leave/close than not be able to organize it without regard that the person they tried to organize (and promised job security, better wages, etc.) is now unemployed.

     

    The New York Times, which openly supports EFCA, published a piece claiming that EFCA is under attack and lays out all the ways that EFCA is being fought.  This is one article I didn’t mind reading from the otherwise liberal newspaper.

     

    This spin is making me dizzy!  The SEIU reminds the public not to use the term “card check” when referring to EFCA, but to repeatedly say the “Employee Free Choice Act” because “it reinforces the idea that workers, not corporations, should be the ones who decide how to form a union.”  Am I missing something?  I don’t see where “card check” says that corporations should decide how to form a union.

     

    You may remember my post about the group “Save Our Secret Ballots” who is trying to create a state constitutional amendment to block EFCA from being law in a handful of states.  Although I’m not sure how this group intends to get around the preemption doctrine, I am following it and will update you on its progress.  Right now, the SEIU has published the names of its board members and major supporters.

     

    The AFL-CIO ignores the fact that our country’s economic situation is a result of structured investment vehicles and collateral debt.  Instead, according to the AFL-CIO, the underlying problem for our economy is “the corporate search for cheap labor.”  I try to be fair on this blog, with the required degree of slant necessary, but sometimes things bug me (like when the SEIU tells its followers not to say “card check,” and that a return to heavy unionization like in the 1940s-1970s will bring prosperity to this country) and this is one of those articles.

     

     

    Let me know what you thought about EFCA Update Week and if you’d like to see it become a regular even every few weeks here.