There is a particularly odious bit of anti-democratic, anti-business legislation making its way through the Congress. The Orwellian named legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act. It is anything but. It is legislation that would do away with the most fundemental democratic right of all Americans, a secret ballot, in the context of choosing whether to unionize. It is a gold engraved invitation to invidious intimidation and coercion by unions. Yet the Democrats are quite willing to impose this system on American employees. And it is no secret why. The Democrats care far more about the money that they can raise from unions then they care either about employees, businesses, or the drain on the economy that many unions in fact are today.
As the NYT reported today:
Senate Democratic leaders moved Tuesday to force a vote on organized labor’s top legislative priority, a bill that would make it far easier to organize workers. . .Read the NYT article here. Although the Times, fails to tell us, Big Labor held a demonstration today, bussing in a crowd of people to support this economic time bomb. Hillary and the other Democratic presidential hopefuls were there to establish their bona fides as Big Labour supporters, but the man leading the charge was Teddy Kennedy - possibly the most destructive influence in American politics over the past half century other then Jimmy Carter:
The bill, already approved by the House but facing the threat of a veto by the Bush administration, would give employees at a workplace the right to unionize as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted to do so. Under current law, an employer can insist on a secret-ballot election, even after a majority sign.
Union leaders see enactment of the bill as the single most important step toward reversing labor’s long-term loss of membership and might. Virtually all Democrats in Congress are backing the legislation, partly because they recognize that a stronger labor movement, providing campaign contributions and volunteers, could translate into a stronger Democratic Party.
Business groups have mounted a big fight against the bill, with one organization, the Center for Union Facts, spending $500,000 on newspaper and broadcast advertisements this week alone.
. . . John J. Sweeney, [a union] president, expressed confidence that the bill would fare better if a Democrat won the White House next year. “This is really about 2009,” Mr. Sweeney said. “But it’s important that we show the country that we have majority support.” . .
Big Labor bussed thousands of activists to Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby for the Employee Free Choice Act—an act union leaders have called their top legislative priority for the 110th Congress.Read the full article here. Ted Kennedy is the low mark of the American electoral system. But while he and all other Democrats hypocritically support this bill, Fred Thompson does not. And in his usual clear prose, Fred tells us why:
Event organizers claimed they brought 2,000 participants on 62 busses from the Campaign for America’s Future’s “Take Back America” conference to the Upper Senate Park.
There, a parade of Democratic congressmen and senators delivered hard-line progressive rhetoric to their pro-union advocates.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) furiously ripped up a full-page advertisement sponsored by the Center for Union Facts that was published that morning in the New York Times, USA Today and Roll Call.
The Center for Union Facts opposes the act, and their advertisement featured a large quotation: “There’s no reason to subject the workers to an election.” This quotation appeared with the question, “Who said it?” and displays photos of the former President of Uganda Idi Amin, President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees Bruce Raynor.
Kennedy held the advertisement high and said, “Here is that advertisement! They say there is no reason to subject the workers to elections. [It asks,] 'Who said it?' And then it says union bosses are pressuring the Senate to change the rules on union organizing. Learn about their scheme to eliminate workers’ right to a secret ballot at Union Facts.com. This is what I say to that!”
At that point Kennedy tore the advertisement into shreds-- an act that drew wild applause from the crowd.
Small print at the bottom of the Center for Union Facts’ ad reveals the quotation came from Raynor. The quotation was published in a May 31, 2003 article by the New York Times titled “Labor Turns to a Pivotal Organizing Drive.”
There was a time in America when local governments and employers could take advantage of powerless workers. Unions formed as a result. Nowadays, government generally sides with, instead of against, unions. The single biggest advantage unions have, of course, is collective bargaining rights – the right to negotiate for whole groups of employees.Read the entire article here.
Even with these advantages, however, unions have been losing membership in every sector but government -- which is another story. In the last 25 or so years, private sector union membership has dropped from about 19 percent to under 8 percent today. Most decertification votes, giving workers the chance to end union representation, go against the unions.
One reason unions have alienated potential members is that they often focus on politics instead of supporting their members. Last week, in fact, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against a Washington state teachers union that had been spending dues on political activities -- against the wishes of individual teachers. Some of those who protested the use of the funds weren't even union members but had to pay to keep their teachers' jobs.
This week, though, the unions are going to try something that could reverse their long decline. The Senate will vote on a measure the House has already passed that would do away with secret ballots on votes to unionize. This would allow union officials to visit individual workers separately to persuade them to sign a card in favor of the union. Given the rather colorful history of some labor unions, it’s not hard to understand why so many people think this is a very bad idea.
Nevertheless, the current congress may in fact pass it. Unions give a lot of their members'-- and nonmembers'-- dues to political candidates, and they're really good at providing free labor to campaigns. So they have a lot of influence in certain parts of congress. That may explain, for example, why the House Appropriations Committee is apparently planning to cut the budget of the Office of Labor Management Services -- the office that investigates illegalities by unions.
Let me restate the obvious. In America, we need the right to join a union. We also need the right not to join a union.