Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Orrin Hatch on EFCA

Here is a some video from CNBC's Squawk Box of Senator Orrin Hatch criticizing the Employee Free Choice Act.

3 Comments:

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Wes said...

Wow. Three extremely anti-union speakers. Thank you CNBC, for your unbiased reporting.

First of all, Bernie from Home Depot is just talking about why unions will turn the US into France - he is obviously going to be biased against a bill that makes it easier for workers to form a union.

Second, all these speakers misrepresent the bill. It would not "do away" with secret ballots, it provides workers with an alternate method of organizing. You would still need a majority on cards - isn't that still a democracy? I think Bernie wants to be able to tell workers that they can't join a union regardless of how many want in - now THAT is undemocratic.

So let's ask (since CNBC obviously won't), WHY Obama and so many other people support EFCA. Well, first of all, the current labor law in the US is heavily slanted against workers. While "secret ballot" seems great, in these situations it becomes heavily corrupted by employers looking to intimidate workers.

In one fourth of organizing campaigns, for example, workers are fired for their union activity (source: Cornell University study, professor Kate Bronfenbrenner). No wonder so many people are too afraid to organize.
And did you know that in the current (pre-EFCA) labor law, the absolute worst punishment for a company that illegally fires workers for union activity is reinstatement with back-pay? That means the very worst that can happen is a company would have to pay exactly what they would have been paying anyway. No wonder so many companies use this illegal tactic!

So now let's look at the overall picture. A study by labor academics Richard Freeman and Joel Rogers showed that over 40 million non-union workers would join a union if given the opportunity. So what is stopping them? Orrin ignores this point - if so many people want to join a union, shouldn't we provide less-corruptible and safer means for workers to do so?

I am all for debate on this subject, but I am really disgusted by a news organization like CNBC that gives us three speakers from essentially the same viewpoint, with softball questions and no counterpoint.

 
At 2:00 AM, Blogger Gregory Hall said...

Let's get to the meat of the issue. Whether or not the process is flawed (which it is on both sides) is irrelevant because of the union's treatment of the workers once they get into today's unions. I spent a long time organizing workers into unions and many of them are now lied to, miserably represented, or worse; they are disenfranchised when they stand up to reform the organizations that only exist because of their dues.

Management is not perfect but certainly unions are not the only answer to the problem. Unions have become so bent on a political agenda that the workers are left with very few alternatives than to decertify when their administrations no longer listen to their issues. Many thousands of members do choose to decertify, and many more would if the process weren't so difficult.

The problem with EFCA is that it hands more, basically unstoppable, power over to organizations that flatly refuse to acknowledge their own member's complaints. In 2004, one of the executives of the largest union in the country told me that, "We are no longer building labor members. We are building progressive citizens." My members didn't want their dues going to create progressive citizens. That is not why they signed up. It was certainly not what they were told would happen when they signed a UAC (a union card). They wanted their union to pay attention to their wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The days of the unions being the answer to worker's on the job issues has long passed, if it ever existed. Unions are corporations engaged in a knock down fight, (even stealing members from each other through "raids") for members. It always surprises new organizers to learn that the unions actually hate each other.

The current unions in America are not the answer. They will not reform to allow justice for their members. Check out AUD.org and read about the number of members screaming for help just to get rid of the corruption in their locals.

Please don't behave as if this law will benefit the workers in this country. If EFCA passes, unions will continue to concentrate their power, and follow their "ends justifying the means" models. Repair the current system and enforce the laws already on the books.

 
At 12:43 AM, Blogger Sudhanshu said...

The current unions in America are not the answer. They will not reform to allow justice for their members. Check out AUD.org and read about the number of members screaming for help just to get rid of the corruption in their locals.
Labor Law Blog. Many thousands of members do choose to decertify, and many more would if the process weren't so difficult.I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

Utterly pent content material.

 

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