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.

Follow Up Fridays: Solis’ Nomination as DOL Secretary

I had no idea that when I first posted about Obama’s pick for Secretary of Labor that I would still be writing about her nomination process.  But last week two things happened which lead me to believe that either she will not be confirmed as the Secretary or we’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the near future.

First, Solis’ husband paid $6400 worth of outstanding tax liens placed on the company he owns.  LawMemo Blog’s expert, Ross Runkel, a 30-year employment law professor thought that this, alone was enough for Solis to withdraw her nomination, or conversely, Obama’s people “will drop Solis and move on to someone else.  The short-term and long-term costs of hanging onto Solis are simply too high.” 

But just hours before the Senate confirmation vote, the other shoe fell on Solis with The Weekly Standard‘s article “The Nominee who Lobbied Herself.”  Solis, who co-sponsored EFCA in 2007 was the treasurer of the union fronted American Rights at Work who had been lobbying Congress to pass EFCA.  In other words, “she is the official legally charged with the fiduciary duty of approving and signing off on all spending by the organization.  And to make matters worse, she did not reveal to her colleagues in the House of Representatives that membership on her financial disclosure forms, which may constitute a separate ethical violation.”  Members of the House of Representatives are not allowed to lobby or advise on lobbying on behalf of a private organization – even if the work is done for free.

“Now [Obama] has a nominee for Labor Secretary who apparently broke House ethics rules by lobbying for legislation that she sponsored, but who did not admit that she failed to reveal that fact on her financial disclosure forms until after her nomination became an issue.”  The Weekly Standard.

Like some of Obama’s other appointees, i.e. Tom Daschle’s $140,000 in back taxes and interest, Tom Geithner’s $42,000 in taxes and interest, and the lien placed on Nancy Killefer’s home for not paying unemployment taxes for her domestic help, Solis forgot to mention her affiliation with American Rights at Work in disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives from 2004-2007.  In typical fashion, a White House spokesman chalked up the omission as an “unintentional oversight.”

But guess who’s still supporting Solis!  John Sweeney, AFL-CIO President urged the committee to move ahead with a vote as soon as possible to confirm Solis’ nomination and Andy Stern, President of SEIU said, “We urge [the] U.S. Senate to move swiftly in a bipartisan manner so Representative Solis can bring her work to improve lives for millions of workers in America.” 

For now, though, the vote is on hold until her ethical violations are fully explored and a decision whether to continue her nomination process is made – assuming she won’t withdraw her name in the interim.

Unions Jump on Green Jobs Bandwagon

We all know that green jobs are the wave of the future, and every municipality, village, town, city, state, and federal government are looking at ways to create green jobs – jobs that will help (or at least don’t hurt too badly) the environment.  Every politician ran on a platform that green jobs are necessary.  Most politicians ran on the theory that green jobs cannot be outsourced.  With all of this common knowledge that green jobs are coming to your neighborhood, it’s only logical that unions try to corner the market in green job initiatives. 

Last week the Green Jobs, Good Jobs “national conference” was held in Washington D.C., and it wasn’t well advertised who the sponsors and speakers were.  Every union under the sun sponsored the conference along with heavily unionized companies like Alcoa Steel and the now bankrupt Smurfit Stone.  The speakers included among a few others: the secretary/treasurer of the AFL-CIO, president of the United Steelworkers, president of Communications Workers of America, president of the Teamsters, president of the Laborers union.

The AFL-CIO also announced its Center for Green Jobs which is to, “help out labor unions implement real green jobs initiatives – initiatives that retain and create good union jobs, provide pathways to those jobs and assist with the design and implementation of training programs to prepare incumbent workers as well as job seekers for these family-sustaining careers.”  The SEIU likewise tried to capitalize on its presence at the conference and said it can create 2 million jobs and reduce unemployment to 4.4 percent in the next 2 years because of green jobs.  Overall, the conference organizers say the goal is to develop a “New Green Deal.”  This, of course, on top of the other neo-New Deal programs and initiatives that Obama has already started.

If the theory behind creating green jobs is to better the environment and the health of people everywhere, the public will buy into those initiatives.  If the theory behind creating green jobs is only to create “green union jobs” and implement a union-friendly “New Green Deal,” then the public will not support those initiatives.  It’s no wonder why this “national conference” really wasn’t advertised well and had mostly only union leaders speaking at it.  It wasn’t to better the economy or the earth; it was to get a jump start in figuring out how to organize the impending green jobs and divide up the turf of which union can go after organizing which jobs so as to diminish public relation nightmares in the future.

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.”

Banks on the Hot Seat for Organizing

A few weeks ago, I warned that unions, especially the SEIU, are looking to unionize banks when the SEIU told bank employees (mostly tellers) that some of the bailout money should go to them.  The video I posted then is worth posting again.  The crux of the video is that Bank of America is a bad company for buying Countrywide Home Mortgages and MBNA and accuses BoA of predatory lending.  Fine.  Maybe BoA is a bad company and maybe it did engage in predatory lending – but is that a reason for its employees to unionize?  I’m missing the link.  Here’s the video.

 

Here’s an update since my last post about the SEIU trying to organize bank employees.  First, and not surprising, the union called for BoA to fire its CEO and cast out allegations that the CEO paid over $24,000 for curtains when spending $1.2 million to redecorate his office.  In response, the SEIU encouraged its members and supporters to go to branches of BoA last week and “talk directly with employees about what’s happening with their company.”  And what’s the content of that conversation – that the head of the Bank responsible for employing that employee has expensive taste in drapery?  The SEIU then encouraged BoA:

1.  To provide health care for its 247,000 workers (even though BoA’s website says they already provide health care to their associates);

2. Keep over 12,000 troubled borrowers, i.e. people who borrowed more then they could afford, in their homes – I guess by having BoA pay their mortgages;

3. Sign new leases with renters who live in buildings that are being foreclosed upon.  So Bank of America should now be Landlords of America?

4. Commit to providing affordable healthcare to all of its employees and their dependents.  Isn’t this a recap of number 1? 

Later that day, the super-liberal Huffington Post claimed to leak a great conspiracy between AIG, BoA, Home Depot, and others where anti-Employee Free Choice Act contributions and strategies were discussed.  The source, who was supposedly on the telephone call with the heads of such empires and then who stabbed all of them in the back to report the contents of the call to the online news rag, was not revealed.  The audio clips, which can be heard here, are well worth the listen and, frankly, are absolutely no different from all of the other business owners that I deal with on a daily basis.  Business owners that understand the reality of EFCA are responding to it, planning for it, planning to battle it, and are looking to one another for solutions to the biggest problem that any business owner has faced during his or her lifetime.  I’ve listened to the leaked audio several times, and I believe that the voices on the call are the ones who leaked it.  They are the usual anti-EFCA voices.  They are ones who are trying to encourage other business owners to join their fight instead of live in denial because like it or not, the Employee Free Choice is coming soon.

Two days later, the SEIU regurgitated its call to talk with BoA employees and asked BoA to do the same 4 things it asked already (well, really 3 because 1 and 4 are still the same).

I haven’t heard about the the success of the SEIU’s attempt at talking to bank tellers last week, but I imagine it was just as much of a flop as when the union tried to canvass McDonalds one day and speak to those employees, too.

 

 

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!

    Misc. Mondays: Obama Appointing Lobbyists to His Administration

     President Obama promised during his campaign that lobbyists “won’t find a job in my White House.”  But, according to Politico, “at least a dozen former lobbyists have found top jobs in Obama’s administration.”  Most troubling for us is the White House political affairs director, Patrick Gaspard, who was a lobbyist for the SEIU.