Surprise! You’re Union.

Thomas Wigand, a labor lawyer and well-known personage on the Rhode Island right, describes for the Providence Business News just what the Employee Free Choice Act would mean:

This new legislation is called the “Employee Free Choice Act.” Some have opined that the name is “Orwellian,” for EFCA quashes “free choice” by effectively eliminating secret ballot elections in union-organizing drives. It accomplishes this by mandating “card check” certification of unions. Under a “card check” regime, union organizers need only collect signatures from a simple majority of the targeted work force, upon which the union is “certified” and the entire work force is unionized.
This “card check” process leaves employees at the mercy of union organizers who, working singly and in groups, track down employees at work and in their homes. Experience shows they often subject employees to misrepresentations, which escalate to peer pressure and then to intimidation, until the employee finally relents and signs a union “authorization card.” So under EFCA the union (“candidate”) can solicit and collect the signatures (“votes”) by pretty much whatever means it deems necessary, and then declare itself the victor — exactly the type of “election” regime one would associate with a totalitarian state. …
The coming administration elevates the enactment of EFCA from “possibility” to “likelihood,” though uncertainty as to enactment remains. What is certain is that employers wishing to preserve their union-free advantage should not wait for enactment before responding to this threat. Employee signatures are valid for one year — so even now organizers could be quietly collecting inventories of signatures, readying themselves to pounce on unsuspecting companies immediately after enactment, announcing that their workplace is “now union.”

If the EFCA were to pass (which it shouldn’t), it seems only fair to add an amendment that would allow employers and anti-union activists to accumulate signatures for a petition that bans unions, or at least requires them to campaign and seek votes.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
14 years ago

Notice how the unions have have to lie to people to trick them into something. If unions are so great, based on the merits, just why would they need to lie to be successful?
The “free choice” act is anything but.
Just shows you, once again, what losers those union punks are.

Patrick
14 years ago

Doesn’t sound like either “free” or “choice”.
Yeah, if a union is such a good thing for the people, what’s so hard about simply calling a meeting during non-business hours, get a majority to sign the cards and off you go. If they do that, I have zero problem with the place being unionized, however with an open shop. If someone people don’t want to be union and don’t want any of the benefits of union and negotiate individually with the employer, I have no problem with that. It is funny how unions need to resort to thuggery to achieve their goals.

rhody
rhody
14 years ago

Companies have no problem using strongarm tactics to keep unions out. That’s why EFCA was created.
If you want a better alternative, it’ll require fair play from BOTH sides.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
14 years ago

rhody,
What’s wrong with using the same system we use to pick our president?

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

Employees have little to fear from employers – it’s the union thugs that they have to worry about!
In 2003 this is what the National Labor Relations Board got the Teamsters to “consent” to stop doing during an organizing drive:
http://www.labourtalk.org/forms/teamsters_NLRB_posting.pdf
In part:
“WE WILL NOT use or threaten to use a weapon of any kind, including but not limited to guns, knives, slingshots, rocks, ball bearings, liquid-filled balloons or other projectiles, picket signs, sticks, sledge hammers, bricks, hot coffee, bottles, two by fours, lit cigarettes, eggs, or bags or balloons filled with excrement against any non-striking Overnite employee or security guard in the presence any Overnite employee.”
“WE WILL NOT threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees or otherwise threaten unspecified reprisals on any non-striking employee of Overnite or any member of his or her family or any employee of a neutral employee doing business with Overnite, or on any security guard, supervisor or manager of Overnite or neutral employers doing business with Overnite in the presence of employees.”

rhody
rhody
14 years ago

Oh, those Teamsters. In my business, companies pretty much give the Teamsters whatever they want because the unions on my end of the business are the ones targeted by CEOs, boards, union-busting law firms, etc.
Believe me, there are plenty of union folks like me who are interested merely in fairness but get painted with the same brush as those guys.

Will
14 years ago

“Companies have no problem using strongarm tactics to keep unions out.”
Presuming they do (show me the evidence), why shouldn’t they? They’re just trying to protect their company. Remember, they own it.
A company’s primary raison d’etre is to generate profits for the owners/shareholders. When they stop doing that for a long enough period of time, they cease being.
Even presuming what you said was factually correct, how exactly would two wrongs make a right?
The EFCA is fundamentally undemocratic, if not anti-American. That type of overt coercion and intimidation has no place in a free society. If unions are so great, you shouldn’t need to force one on a company and its workers, especially on those who don’t want it.
The main reason why it’s bad, is that increased labor costs, with no additional benefit to consumers, would raise the cost of everything on the rest of us who aren’t on the “inside.” It would also put American companies at a further competitive disadvantage, thus expediting companies moving operations off shore.

Mike
Mike
14 years ago

It should be called the “End Secret Ballots and Ship Jobs Overseas Act”.
Don’t fret-it is going NOWHERE.
I must say though that companies have provoked this by using sleazy and blatantly illegal union-busting tactics which the NLRB has proven unable/unwilling to adequately police.

Monique
Editor
14 years ago

I hope you’re right, Mike.
People at a particular shop must be free to choose whether or not to unionize without fear or implication of intimidation or reprisals. This means via a secret ballot, with 51% or more as the tipping point.
No other method is defensible. Again, shame on Senator Obama for supporting an open ballot, the sole purpose of which is to obtain unionization through intimidation.

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
14 years ago

The fundamental lack of understanding of the current law is astounding from this blog, but that is no surprise. But Mike C asks a logical question. And if we used the same laws for an organizing drive as in a presidential election that would be fine. But what we have now is a situation, to think of it in presidential terms:
Candidate 1 could go to every state in the country, whenever he wanted
Candidate 2 would have to stay in Canada
Candidate 1 could have radio, tv, internet, mailings, phone calls, anytime, any place, and paid for at any amount
Candidate 2 can only use media at certain times, in certain places, and only with the approval of candidate 1
Candidate 1 can have total access to the voter list
Candidate 2 can only get the voter list after a protracted process run by the government and then the list has to be approved by Candidate 1 and only has to contain the most basic information like name and mailing address. And the mailing address can be the office of candidate 1.
those are just a few examples. Not that it matters.

David
David
14 years ago

This is part of an email I recently sent to Froma Harrop about her editorial on card checks. “Your position on the card check issue conforms with the Republican’s denunciation of unionization and in their anti union position using this canard about valuing democratic elections. Card checks present a public election for unionization. If a majority of a workforce are willing to sign up for a union in front of their coworkers, managers and owners, then their intentions are already known. Under present law, after card check verifies that a majority seeks unionization, feds verify and arrange for the secret election. In that intervening time, the company or others use every means possible- with the names of the card check signers public- to overturn the desires of a majority of their workers. I saw this process first hand. I worked as a sub-contractor for Cornucopia Foods then located in Coventry, RI. That company is now named United Natural Foods. The workers tried to become part of the Teamsters. The Teamster union organizer was skeptical about their chances because the card check was only 60 percent of the approximately 100 workforce. The Teamsters agreed to continue after being appealed to by Cornucopia workers. The company hired a company that specialized in detering union efforts. Some of these efforts were softball. Some were hardball. After all, all the workers who signed up were known. It was only a matter of 10 or 11 votes. Without protection, certain workers were fired. Other workers I suspect succumbed to the soft pressure. I knew the owner of the company and was friendly with him. I am sure he could present a good case to his workers to reject a union. But why then did a majority publically declare themselves? The unionization effort failed. I suppose… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

TESTIMONY OF JEN JASON FORMER UNITE-HERE ORGANIZER, GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EMPLOYMENT, LABOR AND PENSIONS “STRENGTHENING AMERICA’S MIDDLE CLASS THROUGH THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT” February 8, 2007 Washington, DC Chairman Andrews, Ranking Member Kline, members of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, good morning. My name is Jen Jason. I am a former labor organizer for UNITE HERE, a union that represents more than 450,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees throughout North America in the textile, lodging, foodservice and manufacturing industries. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today as the committee considers the “Employee Free Choice Act” to share my personal experiences with “card check” campaigns as a former organizer. As a child growing up with a United Methodist Minister for a father, I was raised with the strong belief that I should spend my life working toward social justice in some way. For a time, I considered entering the ministry. However, after graduating college, I felt that I needed to spend time working in a service position while I made certain of my calling. I was accepted into the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, a program designed to interview, train and place new labor organizers. The AFL-CIO trained me in the skills necessary for these efforts and I was eventually hired into UNITE’s organizing department. As an Organizer for UNITE, I primarily worked on and later led “card check” organizing campaigns. Depending on the situation, this meant that we either had a pre-existing “card check” agreement with the company in question, or there was going to be a complicated and aggressive corporate campaign waged against a company in order to coerce an agreement, or I was working in a jurisdiction in which “card check” was predetermined through legislation, such… Read more »

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.