Last year, I wrote about the so-called Employee Free Choice Act then pending in Congress. It would have enabled a union to be certified as the bargaining representative of employees merely by presenting to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cards executed by a majority of employees in the bargaining unit. In other words, the presentation of cards would mean no election. Thus, instead of making the decision about whether to be represented by a union in private and in secret, employees could be subjected to all manner of coercion to sign a card.
This anti-free choice legislation passed the House. However, it failed to clear the Senate, where it obtained only 51 votes, nine short of what’s required to defeat a filibuster.
With the Democrats possibly in a position to gain nine or so Senate seats this year, the AFL-CIO has made anti-free choice legislation its number one election priority. Donald Lambro reports in the Washington Times that organized labor will spend (it is estimated) upward of $300 million in this year’s presidential and congressional elections — much of it promoting the card-check bill and tying it to its Democratic supporters.
John McCain says he would veto such legislation, so Barack Obama’s success is critical to organized labor’s efforts to swell its roles by eliminating elections. Accordingly, organized labor is all-in for Obama. And since organized labor tends to be most influential in key states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, its stake in Obama represents a huge plus for the candidate, who has not exactly been a sensation in these jurisdictions so far.
Obama, naturally, is more than happy to go along with the anti-democratic, pro-union legislation. Thus, his website proclaims his support for legislation that “will allow workers to form a union through majority sign-up and card-checks.”
However, the Obama campaign, being the Obama campaign, refuses fully to own up to what it’s supporting. Instead, as Lambro reports, the campaign tries to have it both ways. Thus, Obama spokesperson Nick Shapiro says:
This is simply a debate over process. But it is up to the workers, and they should be free to choose their process. If they wish to vote by secret ballot instead of a card-check process, they can. The law does not strip them of that right.
But under current law, the union doesn’t become an employee’s representative unless a majority of the workers confers that status in a secret election under as close to “laboratory conditions” as the NLRB can ensure. Under the law Obama wholeheartedly supports, if the union, under unsupervised conditions, can browbeat more than half of the employees into signing cards, there is no election. Thus, the Obama campaign is correct that the debate is over process, but it is deceitful in claiming that workers will always be free to choose their process.
UPDATE: Lorie Byrd cites some of the Senate races upon which organized labor is concentrating. They include Dole vs. Hagan (North Carolina); Coleman vs. Franken, in all likelihood (Minnesota); Wicker vs. Musgrove (Mississippi); Collins vs. Allen (Maine). Dole, Coleman, and Collins all voted against the anti-free choice legislation in the Senate, while WIcker did so in the House.
JOHN adds: The point of the unions’ “card check” proposal is to empower union goons to visit employees, armed with baseball bats or with suspicious bulges under their jackets, to pose the ominous question: “You’re for the union, aren’t you?” When the first employee who refuses to sign the union’s card is found lying in a ditch, the remainder of the organizing campaign will go very smoothly indeed. Ask yourself: if the unions don’t want to abolish the secret ballot so that they will be free to intimidate workers, then why do they want to abolish the secret ballot?
That such thuggery could be a serious prospect in 21st century America is deeply disgraceful.
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