Monday, March 30, 2009

EFCA Reality Check

As the lobbying battle over the Employee Free Choice Act heats up, the MSM is starting to take notice. The Plain Dealer had a feature story on it today that contains some facts that should service as kryptonite to the super misleading arguments of the GOP (emphasis mine):

The Employee Free Choice Act would allow unions to be recognized if a majority of workers sign union cards, and it would remove employers' current right to demand that workers instead hold a secret-ballot election to ratify a union.

Richard Hurd, a professor of labor studies at Cornell University, said the current secret-ballot elections allow employers to campaign against the union in the workplace but shut organizers out of that venue.

Hurd likened it to a political election in which "one candidate could present his view anytime he wants, and the people have to sit there and listen to him. The other candidate could only get his view across if he is able to track down people and talk to them on their free time."

Hurd said employees are fired in at least one of every five organizing campaigns and that companies found guilty of firing workers for union activity only have to pay them back wages, minus whatever the employees made at their new jobs. The Employee Free Choice Act would require guilty employers to pay illegally fired workers triple their lost salaries, as well as civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation.

Even when unions win an election to organize, getting the first contract can be difficult. Hurd said only 40 percent of companies in which employees vote for unions get collective-bargaining agreements. The proposed law would give employers and workers 120 days to reach a contract before a federal arbitrator stepped in to set terms.
Everyone got that? The EFCA will not remove WORKER's rights to a secret ballot. They can still request one. The only change is that EMPLOYERS cannot demand a secret ballot if a majority of their employee have signed cards, as they can now. This is needed because employers can use the run up to an election to campaign against the union on company time, and indiscriminately fire any union sympathizers in their employ.

Lord knows the GOP will do anything to keep the status quo, under which we had corporate profits make up the largest share of GDP than at any time since the 1920's before this current recession hit. It's time for some of that GDP to go to the workers who make those corporate profits possible, and the EFCA will provide the tools needed to do so.

7 comments:

Jeff Lehner said...

"Everyone got that? The EFCA will not remove WORKER's rights to a secret ballot. They can still request one.">

Unless 50% plus one of their co-workers signs a card. Therein lies the point.

And as for employers, shouldn't the ones who sign the paychecks have a say here?

And as for profits - where do jobs come from? It seems to me we should be trying to make companies MORE - not LESS - profitable in the middle of the worst economic downturn in a generation...

Nick D said...

Unless 50% plus one of their co-workers signs a card. Therein lies the point.

That's the way it is now. EFCA wouldn't change that. The only change would be that employers could no longer refuse to recognize a union because there was no secret ballot. Just like the Plain Dealer article says, in other words.

And as for employers, shouldn't the ones who sign the paychecks have a say here?
Sure they should, but there's a lot of daylight between having a say and illegally firing people, as often occurs.

And as for profits - where do jobs come from? It seems to me we should be trying to make companies MORE - not LESS - profitable in the middle of the worst economic downturn in a generation...

It all depends on whether you want those profits to be sustainable. If workers don't get pay raises they can't spend money. And since consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity, eventually workers not getting pay raises translates to recession. Like the one we're in now, for instance. It's no coincidence that in the last decade, median real household income has declined by $2,000.

Jeff Lehner said...

Dude. Reading comprehension. Under EFCA, workers who don't want to unionize would have no access to secret ballots if 50 percent plus one sign cards, as employers could not call for an election. That's the point...

As for 'sustainable' profits, how on earth are the likes of Obama, Pelosi et al in any way equipped to tell business owners how to make their profits 'sustainable'? What does that even mean?

Nick D said...

Under EFCA, workers who don't want to unionize would have no access to secret ballots if 50 percent plus one sign cards, as employers could not call for an election. That's the point... Ah now I get it. So you're protesting that a minority of workers will not get to participate in an election they would most likely lose because the majority of their co-workers signed union cards. That is a small price to pay to balance out the corporate shenanigans (i.e. firing people, thug like violence, etc.) that an election gives the employer time to execute.

As for 'sustainable' profits, how on earth are the likes of Obama, Pelosi et al in any way equipped to tell business owners how to make their profits 'sustainable'? What does that even mean? Sustainability, from dictionary.com: "to keep up or keep going, as an action or process" You can't "keep going" making profits indefinitely if consumers quit buying your goods because they don't have any money to spend because they haven't gotten a pay raise in a decade.

Jeff Lehner said...

1.) So screw Constitutional rights, we're going to be a majority-can-infringe-upon-minority-rights country?

2.) So companies will be more profitable if we enact laws that will make them less profitable?

Nick D said...

1.) So screw Constitutional rights, we're going to be a majority-can-infringe-upon-minority-rights country? I'm not aware of any right not to have a union in your workplace, but to answer your question we already are a majority can infringe upon minority rights country

So companies will be more profitable if we enact laws that will make them less profitable? I never advocated enacting any new laws. And if you google "corporate sustainability" you'll soon discover that this is not such an outrageous concept Jeff. Companies are doing it on their own. What's the use of making big profits now but no profits later?

Nick D said...

A confession: the reason I know so much about corporate sustainability is that my company has a big corporate sustainability project going on right now. It's the first thing you see when you go to the company intranet.