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Subject: Yay Labor Unions! rss

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//sarcasm off

WSJ Op-Ed:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124804413309863431.html
Quote:
Politicians don't typically broadcast their defeat, and when they do it pays to watch for the blindside hit. That's surely the case with last week's reports that six liberal Senators are abandoning part of labor's top priority, "card check" legislation.

The legislation to eliminate secret ballots in union elections has in fact been comatose for weeks, since Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas declared their opposition. So the real purpose of this "concession" is to shift to Plan B, which is to repackage most of what labor wants with new ribbons and wrapping. The bill that Senators Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Mr. Specter and others are now considering would still give unions the whip hand in negotiations with management.

One proposal would slash the time for an organizing vote, requiring that it be held within five or 10 days after 30% of workers had signed cards asking for a union. The median time today is 38 days. Organizers want the rush because they know the more time workers have to learn about a union, the less they usually want one. Once employees hear the other side of the story, support dwindles.

This also explains a Big Labor demand to bar companies from requiring their workers to hear management's side during a union campaign. Labor supporters say this creates a "captive audience," but these meetings are one of management's few opportunities to address workers, since companies are barred from the sort of outreach allowed to union organizers -- such as visiting employees at home. At the same time, Senators want to give union organizers access to company property.

Democrats also aren't giving up on binding arbitration, which would let a federal arbitrator impose a contract if management and a newly established union at a work site aren't able to agree within 90 days. The provision would encourage unions to make maximum demands and play for time, knowing that an arbitrator could force management's hand. Binding arbitration also denies employees a vote on a contract.

Labor is desperate to rig the bargaining rules because most workers show time and again that they don't want a union. Americans know unions promise higher wages and benefits and more job security. But workers can also see what has happened to such highly unionized industries as steel, autos, airlines and many others. Unions couldn't save those jobs, and in fact they contributed to their demise with contracts that made the industries uncompetitive. Most workers would also rather not hand over a chunk of their paycheck in mandatory dues to finance the political agenda of labor leaders.

Democrats and the AFL-CIO are hoping that if they dump the unpopular secret ballot ban from card check, they can get to their magic number of 60 Senators. The business community and Republicans shouldn't be fooled and let Democrats from swing states off the hook. Card check under any cover is still a job killer.

From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_check
Quote:

Those who oppose majority sign up argue it strips workers of their right to a secret ballot and that it increases intimidation and pressure by union organizers, making it an inaccurate mechanism for determining employee support for unionization. Many business organizations, including The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the implementation of card check. From its website:

"Under the existing law today, workers have a chance to vote for or against unionization in a private-ballot election that is federally supervised. Under Card Check, if more than 50% of workers at a facility sign a card, the government would have to certify the union, and a private ballot election would be prohibited--even if workers want one. By forcing workers to sign a card in public - instead of vote in private - card check opens the door to intimidation and coercion. Over 70% of voters agree that a private election is better than card check."

The National Restaurant Association lists three "talking points" in opposition to card check on its website.

1. A card-check process increases the risk of coercion. When a union tries to organize a workplace, employees sometimes face intimidation and pressure about how they should vote, from the union, management, or both. The best way to protect employees from coercion is through the continued use of a federally supervised, private-ballot process.

2. Private ballots are a basic American right. The entire American system is based on respect for individual liberty and democracy. If Congress passes this proposal, they will strip away the protections that federally protected, democratic elections provide for American workers.

3. An employee’s decision to join a union should be made in private. Employees should not have to reveal to anyone -- employers or unions -- how they exercise their right to choose whether to organize with their co-workers in a union. Moving to a card-check process rather than a federally supervised election tramples on employee privacy. An employee’s decision to join a union should be made in private, protected from any coercion by unions, employers or co-workers.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently stated his opposition to card check in an interview on CNBC:

"I think the secret ballot's pretty important in the country. I'm against card check, to make a perfectly flat statement."

Representative John Kline, R-Minn., in explaining his opposition to the EFCA:

It is beyond me how one can possibly claim that a system whereby everyone — your employer, your union organizer, and your co-workers — knows exactly how you vote on the issue of unionization gives an employee 'free choice' ... It seems pretty clear to me that the only way to ensure that a worker is 'free to choose' is to ensure that there's a private ballot, so that no one knows how you voted. I cannot fathom how we were about to sit there today and debate a proposal to take away a worker's democratic right to vote in a secret-ballot election and call it 'Employee Free Choice.'

Forbes commentator Brett Joshpe states his opposition to card check as such:

"Ending secret ballot elections, which first emerged in the U.S. during Reconstruction to protect recently freed slaves, will provide significant opportunity for voter intimidation and greatly strengthen the labor bloc during a time of historic economic vulnerability. In addition to depriving workers of the right to vote by secret ballot, the EFCA also would mandate binding arbitration in the event management and labor are unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement... The EFCA would leave the fate of businesses (and their workers) in the hands of a government-appointed panel and would essentially empower bureaucrats to mandate a deal that the free market would not produce. If that sounds benign, consider what companies will do when forced to absorb labor costs higher than the market rate and higher than they can afford. They certainly will not go hire more workers."

According to a 2004 Zogby survey conducted for the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 78% of union members support keeping the current secret ballot system.


So, 78% of WORKERS are against it, and yet Democrats are for it because they get so much money in campaign contributions from Big Labor.

Apparently more cash is more important that supporting the best interests of your constituents.

This situation illustrates to me how little our politicians care about our best interests. They're focused more on their next term than really doing what is best for the country in a time of recession.

I agree with this quote from the WJS Op-Ed: "Card check under any cover is still a job killer."

If fiscal conservatives, like myself, are supposed to understand (which I do) that deficit spending is justified and smart during a recession, then why can't so many liberals understand that restricting business during a recession is exactly the wrong time to do it? Even if they're correct and this needs to be done, now is the wrong time. The same thing goes for increasing taxes on small businesses. It shows narrow-mindedness and unhealthy rigidity when an individual or party presses towards a specific ideology oblivious to or in spite of the current economic situation.

I am not part of "the middle class battling the middle class" in support of big business when I call for less government legislation/regulation in support of labor unions. I am FOR the middle class as well as the lower and upper classes (by my math, that's everyone) when I support HEALTHY business practices with the proper balance of power between labor and business. Workers SHOULD unionize and utilize collective bargaining, but this sort of unfair restriction on good business practices is UNHEALTHY for business, workers, and the entire economy and therefore hurts us all.

If and when you cite examples of how Republicans are doing the same thing in other ways, I'll probably agree with you. That is beside the point.
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Koldfoot wrote:
There is no job that is so bad that a union can't make it worse.

I'm sorry but the first reply slot is reserved for "yeah but Bush sucked"-type comments. Please delete yours and wait your turn.
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Labour rights and syndicalism are so screwed up in the USA that those petty measures are water drops in the desert.
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I'm shocked that the WSJ doesn't like unions.
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jarredscott78 wrote:
If fiscal conservatives, like myself, are supposed to understand (which I do) that deficit spending is justified and smart during a recession, then why can't so many liberals understand that restricting business during a recession is exactly the wrong time to do it? Even if they're correct and this needs to be done, now is the wrong time. The same thing goes for increasing taxes on small businesses. It shows narrow-mindedness and unhealthy rigidity when an individual or party presses towards a specific ideology oblivious to or in spite of the current economic situation.

I am not part of "the middle class battling the middle class" in support of big business when I call for less government legislation/regulation in support of labor unions. I am FOR the middle class as well as the lower and upper classes (by my math, that's everyone) when I support HEALTHY business practices with the proper balance of power between labor and business. Workers SHOULD unionize and utilize collective bargaining, but this sort of unfair restriction on good business practices is UNHEALTHY for business, workers, and the entire economy and therefore hurts us all.

I'm a longtime supporter of the union movement. No one can look at the state of industry in America and suggest that the balance of power remains far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives. You are bang-on target with your last two paragraphs, however. In fact, you make a lot more sense than the WSJ.
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wargamer66 wrote:
I'm shocked that the WSJ doesn't like unions.

The RSP standard is that only FOX News articles are supposed to be attacked with ad hominem arguments, where the source is attacked instead of the merits of the specific issue. You know this!
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jarredscott78 wrote:
//sarcasm off



This situation illustrates to me how little our politicians care about our best interests. They're focused more on their next term than really doing what is best for the country in a time of recession.


A perfect illustration of why we need public financing and term limits.
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We still have industries not bankrupt with unions?
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jarredscott78 wrote:
So, 78% of WORKERS are against it, and yet Democrats are for it because they get so much money in campaign contributions from Big Labor.


Actually, your quote shows that 78% of workers are in favor of the position that the Democrats are now taking. If that's evidence of anything, doesn't it show that they are responsive to their constituents?

Quote:
I agree with this quote from the WJS Op-Ed: "Card check under any cover is still a job killer."


It's an editorial (i.e., the opinion of the WSJ editorial board, which is wrong 99% of the time), not an op-ed (i.e., the opinion of an invited contributor, those who sometimes make sense).

On the off chance that you care about facts, here's a news story with actual information about the facts, as opposed to an melange of kneejerk right-wing views.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/business/17union.html

I think it's idiotic that it's taken the Democrats this long to adjust their position to something more reasonable and politically feasible, and this does say something about the influence of organized labor. but, they have now gotten to just where they should be. The political process works!
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DaviddesJ wrote:
jarredscott78 wrote:
So, 78% of WORKERS are against it, and yet Democrats are for it because they get so much money in campaign contributions from Big Labor.


Actually, your quote shows that 78% of workers are in favor of the position that the Democrats are now taking. If that's evidence of anything, doesn't it show that they are responsive to their constituents?

Quote:
According to a 2004 Zogby survey conducted for the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 78% of union members support keeping the current secret ballot system.

No, it shows that they knew they weren't going to get the bill passed unless they changed it up a bit. Also, your statement about the 78% is incorrect because all the poll shows is that workers "support keeping the current ballot system." That says just about nothing about whether they'd be in support of the Democrats proposed changes to the current system. That's like me assuming you'd be okay with me painting your house purple and turning the garage into a game room because you previously told me that you like your house.

DaviddesJ wrote:

On the off chance that you care about facts, here's a news story with actual information about the facts, as opposed to an melange of kneejerk right-wing views.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/business/17union.html

I'm glad you provided that link because it's basically the same story I posted without a few of the opinions.
Quote:
In its place, several Senate and labor officials said, the revised bill would require shorter unionization campaigns and faster elections.

While disappointed with the failure of card check, union leaders argued this would still be an important victory because it would give companies less time to press workers to vote against unionizing.

Some business leaders hailed the dropping of card check, while others called the move a partial triumph because the bill still contained provisions they oppose.

Quote:
Though some details remain to be worked out, under the expected revisions, union elections would have to be held within five or 10 days after 30 percent of workers signed cards favoring having a union. Currently, the campaigns often run two months.

To further address labor’s concerns that the election process is tilted in favor of employers, key senators are considering several measures. One would require employers to give union organizers access to company property. Another would bar employers from requiring workers to attend anti-union sessions that labor supporters deride as “captive audience meetings.”

Quote:

Business also opposes the bill’s provisions to have binding arbitration if an employer fails to reach a contract with a new union. Companies argue it would be wrong for government-designated arbitrators to dictate what a company’s wages and benefits should be.

“Binding arbitration is an absolute nonstarter for us,” said Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute, a business group opposing the bill. “We see it as a hostile act to have arbitrators telling businesses what they have to do.”


DaviddesJ wrote:

I think it's idiotic that it's taken the Democrats this long to adjust their position to something more reasonable and politically feasible, and this does say something about the influence of organized labor. but, they have now gotten to just where they should be. The political process works!

The only way this current plan is "reasonable and politically feasible" is that they might get 60 people out of 100, all of whose political future (campaign contributions) might reply on it passing, to vote for it. If that's the standard for "reasonable" we're in bad shape.

Again, more attacks on one of the sources without a single opionion on why or how the previous or current plan doesn't hurt business and the economy.
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jarredscott78 wrote:
Again, more attacks on one of the sources without a single opionion on why or how the previous or current plan doesn't hurt business and the economy.

Couldn't agree more. Man, that binding arbitration is the one that is the most unfair. I think companies would have to do some shuffling to make the shorter campaign deadlines, but I think they could do it. But with this, they literally can do nothing. Just as WSJ said - unions make unreasonable demands, demands that can't possibly be agreed to, they stall, then the feds come in to settle it. Scary stuff. Gee - kinda like they did with GM and Chrysler...

I also thought it interesting that the NYT wrote:
Quote:
While disappointed with the failure of card check, union leaders argued this would still be an important victory because it would give companies less time to press workers to vote against unionizing.


In other words, even though the article didn't really provide opinions directly, they used subtlety to say the employer is the bad guy. They're doing the pressing. Certainly unions don't press. Riiight.
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tommynomad wrote:
No one can look at the state of industry in America and suggest that the balance of power remains far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives.


The balance of power remains far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives.
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jarredscott78 wrote:
The only way this current plan is "reasonable and politically feasible" is that they might get 60 people out of 100, all of whose political future (campaign contributions) might reply on it passing, to vote for it.


It's reasonable in that most progressives think it's good policy. Obama won an election handily while campaigning on a platform that included firm support for EFCA. It's politically feasible in the sense that some version can probably be passed. The fact that you and the WSJ editorial board don't like it hardly bears on those points.

Quote:
Again, more attacks on one of the sources without a single opinion on why or how the previous or current plan doesn't hurt business and the economy.


The idea that EFCA (in any form) hurts the economy is preposterous. I don't think that deserves a response. The purpose of the bill is to shift the balance of bargaining power between business and labor, which presently is tilted very strongly toward business, because they have a lot more resources to oppose union organizing than unions have to support it. If you think "corporations good, labor bad", then of course you're going to be against anything that helps the labor movement. Otherwise, it seems like a non-argument.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
jarredscott78 wrote:
The only way this current plan is "reasonable and politically feasible" is that they might get 60 people out of 100, all of whose political future (campaign contributions) might reply on it passing, to vote for it.


It's reasonable in that most progressives think it's good policy. Obama won an election handily while campaigning on a platform that included firm support for EFCA. It's politically feasible in the sense that some version can probably be passed. The fact that you and the WSJ editorial board don't like it hardly bears on those points.

The President and Congress were elected for many different reasons based on a myriad of issues. That doesn't mean that each and every thing they do will be supported by the same proportion of the population that elected them.
DaviddesJ wrote:

Quote:
Again, more attacks on one of the sources without a single opinion on why or how the previous or current plan doesn't hurt business and the economy.


The idea that EFCA (in any form) hurts the economy is preposterous. I don't think that deserves a response. The purpose of the bill is to shift the balance of bargaining power between business and labor, which presently is tilted very strongly toward business, because they have a lot more resources to oppose union organizing than unions have to support it. If you think "corporations good, labor bad", then of course you're going to be against anything that helps the labor movement. Otherwise, it seems like a non-argument.

So does it deserve a response or not? I have never said nor alluded to my holding the position of "corporations good, labor bad" so I'm not sure who you're responding to. There is obviously a "proper" balance of power between business and labor, and we just happen to disagree on where that is. The ideal balance would achieve maximum output and efficiency while allowing labor to achieve "fair" compensation for their productivity. If you give business too much power, workers are abused. If you give unions too much power, you eventually hurt both the business and the workers. I believe this new legislation does the latter.
 
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jarredscott78 wrote:

The President and Congress were elected for many different reasons based on a myriad of issues. That doesn't mean that each and every thing they do will be supported by the same proportion of the population that elected them.

I was going to say something to the effect of "If you think the American people voted for Obama because they agree 100% with his issues, then you're putting too much stock in the American people's ability to research/understand/listen to all the issues."

But your words work too.
 
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If anyone thinks that the American public agrees 100% with Obama's agenda because they elected him, or they think that the public agreed 100% with Bush's agenda when they elected him, it's certainly not me. That's nothing like what I said.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
If anyone thinks that the American public agrees 100% with Obama's agenda because they elected him, or they think that the public agreed 100% with Bush's agenda when they elected him, it's certainly not me. That's nothing like what I said.


I'd bet dollars to donuts that the majority of the American people don't even KNOW what Pres. Obama's agenda is.

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DaviddesJ wrote:
If anyone thinks that the American public agrees 100% with Obama's agenda because they elected him, or they think that the public agreed 100% with Bush's agenda when they elected him, it's certainly not me. That's nothing like what I said.


Fair enough, but you did say:
Quote:
Obama won an election handily while campaigning on a platform that included firm support for EFCA.

I'm obviously not alone in picking up the implication that the two were directly related. (winning and EFCA)
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Darilian wrote:
I'd bet dollars to donuts that the majority of the American people don't even KNOW what Pres. Obama's agenda is.


I'd take it one step further and apply that to every elected politician.

You know how Americans have Congress at the teens or twenties approval rating for the last X years? And yet in the last election we had something like 90% retention? How could this be? On the surface it doesn't make any sense, but if you think about it, almost all Americans think Congress sucks, but obviously think their own rep is perfect. I'd bet this has a lot to do with earmarks, and a lack of piecing the puzzle together (though, admittedly it's not that complex of a puzzle - most Americans are just apathetic in their vote)
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TheOriginalGameBoy wrote:
I'm obviously not alone in picking up the implication that the two were directly related. (winning and EFCA)


It's certainly related. The fact that Obama ran and won on this platform is evidence for its political viability. Which is exactly what I said.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
It's certainly related. The fact that Obama ran and won on this platform is evidence for its political viability. Which is exactly what I said.

Yeah, we know - and I, for one, still disagree with that assertion. I think it's entirely possible for a candidate to have an opinion/stance on 100 issues, and not really change the vote overall by either having no opinion or the opposing opinion on one of those issues. If he changed his mind on Issue X, he'll alienate those few who consider that the only reason to vote for him, and acquire those few who consider that the only reason to now vote for him.

I guess what I'm saying is that had he had an opposing oppinion on this issue, I think he would have still won the election handily.

Unless you have a study somewhere that said a significant number of voters deliberately and intentionally voted for him solely on this issue?
 
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TheOriginalGameBoy wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is that had he had an opposing oppinion on this issue, I think he would have still won the election handily.


I think so, too. That has nothing to do with what I said, which is that the fact that Obama ran on this platform is evidence for its political viability.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
It's certainly related. The fact that Obama ran and won on this platform is evidence for its political viability. Which is exactly what I said.


He ran and won. He ran on a platform of supporting the EFCA. One does not yield the other, nor is one dependent on the other.

Isn't any platform that a candidate runs on technically politically viable? I mean, someone would have to think it's viable, otherwise it wouldn't be included in the overall platform, right?
 
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quozl wrote:
tommynomad wrote:
No one can look at the state of industry in America and suggest that the balance of power remains far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives.


The balance of power remains far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives.


Ooops! Forgot a NOT. Thanks for spotting that:
No one can look at the state of industry in America and suggest that the balance of power doesn't remain far too heavily in the hands of ownership & executives.
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TheOriginalGameBoy wrote:
Isn't any platform that a candidate runs on technically politically viable?


No. David Duke ran on a platform of white supremacy and sending the blacks back to Africa. This program is not politically viable in the US today.

But, if you're agreeing with me that EFCA as modified is politically viable, then I'm not sure why you keep arguing with my posting.
 
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