Monday, July 20, 2009

WSJ: Beware of the new Employee Free Choice Act

Blogging from San Francisco.

The absurdly-named Employee Free Choice Act and its card check provision is undergoing a makeover. But garbage spray-painted gold is still garbage.

In an op-ed, the Wall Street Journal applies some paint-removal:

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.

Related posts:
Dems drop card check from Employee FORCED Choice Act
Report from the bloggers' conference call about EFCA with Rep. Tom Price
Report from the bloggers' conference call with Rep. John Kline talking about EFCA
Union members: More equal than others in Obama's America
EFCA still sub-sixty?
Compromise on card check coming?
Report from the bloggers' conference call on EFCA and cash for union coffers
Report from the bloggers' conference call on EFCA and under-funded pensions
SEIU prez: Union spent $60.7 million to elect Obama
George McGovern: "The ‘Free Choice’ Act Is Anything But"
Report from the bloggers' conference call about Employee FORCED Choice binding arbitration
Report from the bloggers' conference call about card check
Former union organizer talks about card check
Nonsense from a South Dakota AFL-CIO official about card check
Minority business groups coming out against card check
Sen. Mitch McConnell on card check
Card check update: "A mortal threat to American freedom"
Blagojevich and union "card check"
Employee "free choice" may drive economic uncertainty

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