Save Secret Ballots from Union Bosses & Democrats

Americans believe in the right to a secret ballot because they know that letting all the world see your vote leads to intimidation, bribery and manipulation. So why are the Dems taking this right away from American workers?

BTW Rhinehold has written a similar article. I do not think we significantly disagree, but our positions are not the same. Please read his too.

In an extraordinarily craven example of caving in to payback politics, the Dems are giving in to big labor’s demand for the right to intimidate & mislead workers. Until now, when a union wanted to represent the workers at a plant, it had to ask them first. And since unions have been known to bully and threaten and worse - where is Jimmy Hoffa? - they had to give the workers a chance to have their say away from the prying eyes of big bosses and their muscular assistants. The Dems want to change all that. They want to allow the union to simply to present sign up cards, make the employer and offer he cannot refuse and now and forever more speak for all the workers.

What is wrong with that? Plenty. Some people sign petitions w/o reading them. Maybe the guy cannot even read the English. Others change their minds. It gives the union a kind of play until you win option. They want to rush the workers into making a decision w/o a chance to think it over or change their minds. They want to eliminate a cooling off periods and never let the workers decide for themselves in private.

Even in the case of an honest organizer, we are dealing with advocates who are trained to manipulate. I will not go into some of more interesting tactics, suffice to say that since unions have such a clear political and financial interest in the outcome, we cannot expect them to act as an unbiased party and should not treat them as such. We need the secret ballot to protect the workers.

It can get worse than clever persuasion. Many union organizers are not above pressuring. Some are even thugs. Imagine yourself working on the shop floor and a couple of guys with big forearms come by with a card for you to sign. They do not make any threats. One of them absent mindedly cracks his knuckles. The other one just drags them on the ground. Do you sign or not? Do you think you might behave differently is you had time to think about it? That is what the unions and their Democratic allies do not want you to have. The Dems want to take away the protection of the secret ballot.

I was a member of the Longshoreman's union. Well, that is not technically correct. I worked four summers, paid dues and initiation fees, but never actually got in. When I had to pay the initiation fee a second time, I asked the union steward what happened to the first payment. A short time later, I couple of big forearm guys came by and told me not to "ask no questions about daunion." They explained to me that the union was the font of all the good things and I would have nothin', not even clothes, w/o daunion. They then told me a story about some guy who had been a little too inquisitive about union finances. Seems he was the victim of a hunting mishap. He was not even hunting and it evidently was not even deer season at the time. Whoddathunkit. Was that a threat, or just their sharing an amusing improbable anecdote? I never asked.

Let me be very clear. American workers have the right to join union and unions have done a lot of good in our country. My troglodyte colleagues were right in their basic assessment. The union had made life bearable and even good for the thousands of unskilled workers who loaded all those bags and boxes. But like all good things, when it becomes coercive and compulsory, it begins to lose its luster. Beyond that, the conditions that had created the union were changing. My father’s generation needed the union; my generation, not so much. To borrow the phrase from Polybius, the union had sown the seeds of its own destruction.

Workers can join unions but unions have to earn their support. We need to protect the right to make choices free from coercion, pressure, bribery or dishonesty. The secret ballot is the best way to protect workers’ rights.

Most Dems support free and fair elections & secret ballots. They should not let their leaders be so beholden to big union bosses that they abandon their ideals to make an expedient payoff. Democrats protect the secret ballot.

Posted by Jack at March 2, 2007 5:56 PM
Comments
Comment #210234

Jack-
Nicely done. This is not the first time we have seen the Liberal mentality at work. Of course Dems are all in favor of democracy, except when it comes to political payback(87 percent of union campaign contributions went to Dem candidates).

This is just the latest instance of Lib thinking. Free and fair elections only apply under certain circumstances. Free speech is only good if you agree with their point of view. Fighting global climate change is mandatory unless you are a former Vice-President who speaks loudly about how we have to reduce our harmful emmissions,CO2, while tooling around in private jets(very inefficient use of fuel), live in one of his three or four very large houses with electric bills that run more in a month than mine do in a year or more, and win an Academy Award for a “documentary” that has more holes in it than Swiss chese.

Beware of the 3rd great lie: (1) The check is in the mail,(2) Of course I’ll respect you in the morning, and (3) Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you>

Posted by: John Back at March 2, 2007 7:03 PM
Comment #210239

John Back,

“This is just the latest instance of Lib thinking. Free and fair elections only apply under certain circumstances. Free speech is only good if you agree with their point of view.”

Yeah, and all conservatives are bigoted fascists.

I hear they’re having a sale on really big brushes, you might want to pick up a few.


Jack,

While I recognize the unions bring to the common worker, I also have seen the attitude that has brought them down from within.
While in the entertainment industry I had to deal with various unions in the towns we came to do a show in.
Some of the guys were “Johnny on the spot” and willing to do anything to get the show happening in other towns, particularly Vegas and Chicago, there were always issues, especially when the client was another union.

Reagan may have started the ball rolling with the de-certification of the air traffic controllers, but it has been the “attitude” that has done the most damage.

Posted by: Rocky at March 2, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #210246

“Power corrupts” applies to everyone, Union or CEO or President of the US. To decry the stupid actions of those who attained power with a blue collar while defending the unrestrained greed and influence of those with a white collar would be hypocritical, at best. To try to link the issue to false and irrelevent rumors about Gores electric bills seems desperate and ignorant, at best.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 2, 2007 8:25 PM
Comment #210256

What’s surprising is that the unions have been trying hard to get away from their bad historical image of a pack of knee-breaking mafia thugs.

That’s why it’s so strange that they’d try to push through something that serves no purpose other than to let them police the actions of workers and punish dissenters.

And it’s just as bad that Democrats, who have been raising a fuss about privacy issues under the Patriot Act (which effects hardly anybody) are signing off on this union-surveillance bill which will effect millions.

It makes no sense—that is, until you look at how much money unions put in the coffers of Nancy Pelosi. Welcome to the new “culture of corruption.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 2, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #210257

Dave1-20-2009
Please decipher what you wrote as it applies to what Jack had written.

Posted by: tomh at March 2, 2007 8:59 PM
Comment #210258

Speaking of ‘culture of corruption’ why is Pelosi now pushing for a new spot on the Homeland Security for Rep. Jefferson.

Washingto Post Article

Another move I just can’t figure out…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 2, 2007 9:00 PM
Comment #210279

Jack,

You’re smart enough to know that what you’re saying is a misrepresentation.

Read this article:

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_5331205

I just took my nighty-night meds so I’ll see you tomorrow.

I generally expect better from you.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 3, 2007 12:12 AM
Comment #210280

Kansas

I cannot see any reason why a public signing of a card would be preferable to a secret ballot. Unions do intimidate employees. I have personally experienced this. Employers also intimidate employees. In both cases a secret ballot is better. The only reason union bosses do not want to have secret ballots is that they want to limit worker choice.

It is impossible to defend the Dem action. It is such a blatant power grab.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 12:21 AM
Comment #210281

Jack,

At this point I have to agree with you, no one has been able to explain why a signing card is better for the worker, how it prevents cooersion or even giving a single example of the National Labor Relations Board ever conducting an unfair election.

All I’m asking for is someone who agrees with this law explain to me why this is a good thing, using logic and reasoning.

Anyone?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 12:28 AM
Comment #210286

Cards can be abused, but the current situation leaves a lot to be desired. When workers have to organize secretly and can be fired at will, they run a risk by simply attending such a meeting. This is a form of coercion itself.

I’m not always in favor of unions, but in this country I think things have tended to favor the businesses too much. Businesses should give some measure of job security, health benefits, and vacation time. That many don’t at all today is a sign that we’ve stacked the cards in businesses favor, probably to too great a degree.

Posted by: Max at March 3, 2007 1:43 AM
Comment #210287
Unions do intimidate employees.

So does management. This bill is a way to keep management from having the upper hand in the intimidation department. I’d rather give the edge to the working man.

I’m honestly not surprised that you’re against transparency on this issue and against the working class. That’s par for the course for you, Jack.

BTW, your characterization of hard-working folk as either knuckle draggers or illiterate idiots is quite telling. Thanks for giving us some context on where you’re coming from with this article.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 3, 2007 2:22 AM
Comment #210290

Jack, Is this “right” to a secret ballot for unionizing a constitutionally protected right? It sounds like repub anti union rhetoric to me.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2007 3:22 AM
Comment #210294

(Acting like Jack.)

Stories of voter intimidation are just used to scare children. I don’t believe your silly anecdote about voter intimidation. If it really happened then that guy who threatened you would be in jail.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 3, 2007 6:33 AM
Comment #210300

AP

I too want to give the edge to working man, which is why I want the secret ballot to protect him from both unions and management. If the working man chooses a union, he should have it, but he should have the right to say no.

Re the knuckle draggers, these were the UNION guys. They were not hard working folk. That would have been me loading those bags 12 hours a day. The union guys were the ones threatening the working man and taking his money. Do not confuse the working man with the union man. They are sometimes the same, but certainly not always.

J2t2

Okay. How low do you want to go to defend a corrupt idea? I do not think a secret ballot is a right in a union election in the metaphysical sense. I just think we should ask people what they want and not intimidate them. I believe this about most things. Dems are less enthusiastic about what a person really wants. They prefer the group over the individual. This is an issue that makes it very clear.

The working man and the union man are not the same. Most working men are not union men. They should have the right to choose.

Woody

DO you want to get rid of the secret ballot in elections too? It is much harder to intimidate someone when you have a secret ballot. The thug can stand outside the door, but if he cannot see how you voted, his power to intimidate is limited. How can you be against a secret ballot? Why bother voting. Just let the union bosses come in and make people join. They can do it and have in the past.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 8:42 AM
Comment #210303

The claim that the Employee Free Choice Act takes away the right to a secret ballot is a lie.
What it does is require the company to recognize the union if a majority of employees express the desire to form a union. It also penalizes employer tactics of intimidation and harrassment.
Unions aren’t some third party imposing its will on the employees. The employees ARE the union.
The stereotype being paraded around of “union bosses” intimidating defenseless people into signing cards isn’t true. Card checks are done now in order to force an election but getting the NLRB to certify it is very difficult. Intimidation and harrassment is a major problem that the Employee Free Choice Act is designed to end or at least lessen.
The intimidation isn’t coming from unions. It’s coming from employers. During organizing drives it isn’t unusual for the company to call people into the office for one-on-one anti union intimidation sessions or to simply fire them outright. Powerful examples are made by the company that absolutely terrify people.
Sometimes the company hires union busters that use terror tactics against key people. Thugs follow people, appear outside their children’s schools and present a very menacing presence. Occasionally, someone gets beat up or people are told supporting the union places them or their children in danger.
Organizers use persuasion to get people to support the union, not intimidation. Intimidation would be counterproductive. “Union bosses” is a misnomer since union leaders are elected and work for the members.
Getting union recognition is only half the battle. It isn’t unusual for the company to refuse to bargain in good faith, even with an election. The Employee Free Choice Act changes that, requiring mediation and ultimately arbitration if an agreement isn’t reached within a certain time period.
I know what I’m talking about. I’m a union organizer. And I’m not a thug. The only thugs I encounter in my work are union busters hired by the companies.

Posted by: traveller at March 3, 2007 9:55 AM
Comment #210304

Traveller

Unions are the workers only if the workers choose the union. This is what the secret ballot ensures.

Liberal & Dems will certainly like your analogy that George Bush completely represents them.

We are not talking about the merits of unions. If employees want a union, they should have them. IF is the important word here. Ask them in a fair election with a secret ballot. If you win, that means a majority want you. The union still is not the same as the workers, any more than George Bush is the same as the people, but you will be legitimate.

You may not intimidate people on purpose, but people are intimidated or pressured.

How many times do people say yes to solicitations they do not really want. That is why we give people a chance to reconsider. Why to you oppose giving them choice?

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #210305

Jack
The big problem with NLRB secret ballot elections is not the elections themselves. It is the delay before the election is held. This time gives management an oportunity to intimidate,threaten,fire on pretext,move employees,bring shills in, etc. They do this. Bear in mind that these are companies that treat workers poorly or there would be no union organizing drive in the first place.Most hire union busting firms as consultants. It used to be union busters carried brass knuckles. Now they carry briefcases.
How about some of the other aspects of the proposed law. Should management become personally liable for violating labor laws? I can’t wait to hear the Heritage Foundation in defense of lawbreakers.
Now after a successful union election it can take years to get a contract. This is not the required “good faith” barginning but a union busting strategy. The bills would submit impassed first contract negotiation to arbitration. Whats wrong with that besides it might be fair to workers?

Posted by: BillS at March 3, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #210306

“Union Bosses”. “Union Thugs. If one wants to understand both of these just read about the Koehler strike and Sacco & Vanzetti. Secret ballot is principle and priviledge the working man needs and deserves. There are abuses of voting on both sides. So why not err on the side of safety and principle. If there is nothing wrong, there is nothing to worry about. If there is a situation of business or labor abusing the principle, then the abusing party should worry about the outcome. In my young years I was involved in union activities both as a member of labor and as a member of management. I have vivid recollections of union threats.

Again the bottom line is do a secret ballot to protect all concerned.

Posted by: tomh at March 3, 2007 10:33 AM
Comment #210308

The claim that the Employer Free Choice Act takes away the right to a secret ballot is a lie.
What it does is require the company to recognize the bargaining unit if a majority of employees express the desire to form a union.
It states in part:

SEC. 2. STREAMLINING UNION CERTIFICATION.

(a) In General- Section 9(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 159(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

`(7) The Board shall develop guidelines and procedures for the designation by employees of a bargaining representative in the manner described in paragraph (6). Such guidelines and procedures shall include—

`(A) model collective bargaining authorization language that may be used for purposes of making the designations described in paragraph (6); and

`(B) procedures to be used by the Board to establish the validity of signed authorizations designating bargaining representatives.’.

Card checks are used now to petition for elections but many people are afraid of employer retaliation if they sign.

Harrassment and intimidation are a major problem in organizing efforts. It isn’t the unions that intimidate people, though. It’s the companies.
Companies threaten to shut down, hold mandatory meetings where they lie about unions, call people into the office for one-on-one intimidation sessions, fire key people and hire “union busters” (thugs) to intimidate people.
It isn’t unusual for people to be followed or to repeatedly see menacing looking men staring at them in public and to be told that supporting the union places them and their children in danger. Occasionally someone gets beat up to “send a message”.

The Employee Free Choice Act tries to correct this problem.

SEC. 4. STRENGTHENING ENFORCEMENT.

(a) Injunctions Against Unfair Labor Practices During Organizing Drives-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 10(l) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(l)) is amended—

(A) in the second sentence, by striking `If, after such’ and inserting the following:

`(2) If, after such’; and

(B) by striking the first sentence and inserting the following:

`(1) Whenever it is charged—

`(A) that any employer—

`(i) discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(3) of section 8;

`(ii) threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(1) of section 8; or

`(iii) engaged in any other unfair labor practice within the meaning of subsection (a)(1) that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7;

while employees of that employer were seeking representation by a labor organization or during the period after a labor organization was recognized as a representative defined in section 9(a) until the first collective bargaining contract is entered into between the employer and the representative; or

`(B) that any person has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) of section 8(b)(4), section 8(e), or section 8(b)(7);

the preliminary investigation of such charge shall be made forthwith and given priority over all other cases except cases of like character in the office where it is filed or to which it is referred.’.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 10(m) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(m)) is amended by inserting `under circumstances not subject to section 10(l)’ after `section 8’.

(b) Remedies for Violations-

(1) BACKPAY- Section 10(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(c)) is amended by striking `And provided further,’ and inserting `Provided further, That if the Board finds that an employer has discriminated against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(3) of section 8 while employees of the employer were seeking representation by a labor organization, or during the period after a labor organization was recognized as a representative defined in subsection (a) of section 9 until the first collective bargaining contract was entered into between the employer and the representative, the Board in such order shall award the employee back pay and, in addition, 2 times that amount as liquidated damages: Provided further,’.

(2) CIVIL PENALTIES- Section 12 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 162) is amended—

(A) by striking `Any’ and inserting `(a) Any’; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) Any employer who willfully or repeatedly commits any unfair labor practice within the meaning of subsections (a)(1) or (a)(3) of section 8 while employees of the employer are seeking representation by a labor organization or during the period after a labor organization has been recognized as a representative defined in subsection (a) of section 9 until the first collective bargaining contract is entered into between the employer and the representative shall, in addition to any make-whole remedy ordered, be subject to a civil penalty of not to exceed $20,000 for each violation. In determining the amount of any penalty under this section, the Board shall consider the gravity of the unfair labor practice and the impact of the unfair labor practice on the charging party, on other persons seeking to exercise rights guaranteed by this Act, or on the public interest.’.


Getting union recognition is only half the battle. Very often, companies refuse to bargain in good faith even after an election. The Employee Free Choice Act deals with this problem, too.

SEC. 3. FACILITATING INITIAL COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS.

Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 158) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(h) Whenever collective bargaining is for the purpose of establishing an initial agreement following certification or recognition, the provisions of subsection (d) shall be modified as follows:

`(1) Not later than 10 days after receiving a written request for collective bargaining from an individual or labor organization that has been newly organized or certified as a representative as defined in section 9(a), or within such further period as the parties agree upon, the parties shall meet and commence to bargain collectively and shall make every reasonable effort to conclude and sign a collective bargaining agreement.

`(2) If after the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which bargaining is commenced, or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the parties have failed to reach an agreement, either party may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute and request mediation. Whenever such a request is received, it shall be the duty of the Service promptly to put itself in communication with the parties and to use its best efforts, by mediation and conciliation, to bring them to agreement.

`(3) If after the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the request for mediation is made under paragraph (2), or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the Service is not able to bring the parties to agreement by conciliation, the Service shall refer the dispute to an arbitration board established in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Service. The arbitration panel shall render a decision settling the dispute and such decision shall be binding upon the parties for a period of 2 years, unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties.’.

I know what I’m talking about. I’m a union organizer. The only thugs I encounter or worker harrassment I witness in my work come from the companies.

Posted by: traveller at March 3, 2007 10:38 AM
Comment #210309

My computer showed my first post wsn’t posted so I did a second. I stand by both.

Jack,
I don’t oppose giving people a choice. I’m trying to increase their choices and remove fear from their lives. Employers hate unions because they no longer have the power to lord over their workers.

Posted by: traveller at March 3, 2007 10:43 AM
Comment #210311

Jack

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps this legislation is desired by union members and those who would like to be? You have presented a biased view from one sourcepoint. Do a search you will find quite a few links to this bill. Most that I glanced over in support of it. Union membership is down 12% sinse 2000. The lesser the membership the weaker their bargaining power. Of course republicans and the management they represent do not want this bill to pass. It would mean possible erosion into the slow but steady demise of the union. Too say that the senate has the best interests of the union in mind when they vow to not pass this bill is laughable. In my experiences management has never had the best interests of the worker in mind. In america the workers interests are always playing second fiddle. Once again it is nothing more than republican spin to make the dems rather than themselves look bad in light of a bill that would be damaging to their agenda. Something the repubs have become quite adept at over the last six years.

Having been a steward representing a small group of people in the boonies for 18 years I am familiar with the type of union person you so willingly describe. Our union reps were based out of the teamsters building in Chicago. The first few meetings I attended there were eye openers for sure. Meetings could become quite heated and I quickly realized the muscle was there more for show just to keep a sembelance of order in the room. Never once did I see a punch thrown or threat made. I did see several people who were unforcibly escorted out because they could not manage, after being warned several times, a level of decorum. I am not denying the notion that a level of corruption was and probably still is present within the unions. But is this so different from the corruption going on in the halls of our legislature, executive branch and corporate offices every day. I see the differnces as being that our governmental, and management thugs just dress and talk a little better. In the end they are all aquaintences making deals in back rooms which hopefully leaves a little something for the workers who get what is left.

Posted by: ILdem at March 3, 2007 10:48 AM
Comment #210312

“The big problem with NLRB secret ballot elections is not the elections themselves. It is the delay before the election is held.”

You can’t shorten the delay without killing the election?

“Bear in mind that these are companies that treat workers poorly or there would be no union organizing drive in the first place.”

Of course expanding the union base has nothing to do with an organizing drive.

“It used to be union busters carried brass knuckles. Now they carry briefcases.”

It used to be that union leaders carried picket signs. Now they carry money to Washington.

“Should management become personally liable for violating labor laws?”

EVERYONE should be and is NOW personally liable for ANY lay they personally violate.

“Now after a successful union election it can take years to get a contract. This is not the required “good faith” barginning but a union busting strategy.”

Again, Can this not be accomplished without killing the secret election?

Whats wrong with that besides it might be fair to workers?


Posted by: tomd at March 3, 2007 10:48 AM
Comment #210315

traveller

Thank you for making that thourough post. It is a shame that unions are so often portrayed in a thuggish manner. They have made great strides over the last twenty years in cleaning up that iconic portrayal. It is a shame we can’t say the same for our legislature. I have been retired for six years now and have had no union dealings since. I can honestly say that the union always fairly represented myself and fellow members when so needed. Without them I would no doubt still be working to this day and with very few benefits.

Leave it to republicans to take a favorable bill for workers, put negative spin on it to try and make the dems look bad, and further an obstructionist republican agenda at the sametime. Business as usual I guess.

Posted by: ILdem at March 3, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #210316

Here are 10 key facts about the legislation, and links to more info.

But we all know Bush will veto this, and that this will make the majority of people on the right very glad.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 3, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #210317

Nicely done, traveller.

tomh:
“You can’t shorten the delay without killing the election?”

Intimidation, threats and firings by the employer are the kinds of things that often result from the delay. This is why shortening the time is necessary and important.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 3, 2007 11:23 AM
Comment #210318

That big business is against this legislation is very telling for me.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 3, 2007 11:28 AM
Comment #210320

Jack

“I cannot see any reason why a public signing of a card would be preferable to a secret ballot. Unions do intimidate employees. I have personally experienced this. Employers also intimidate employees. In both cases a secret ballot is better. The only reason union bosses do not want to have secret ballots is that they want to limit worker choice.”

It limits the amount of time that employers can harrass, fire and intimidate employees who would truly like to unionize. You know as well as I do that employees talk and that management always has their snitches. Those who wish to someday become management and will do whatever it takes to get there. And I do not personally know anyone who was ever harrassed or intimidated by the union. Not even those who elected to abstain. They still paid there dues which went to a charity, they were still represented and recieved the same benefits as the rest.

Posted by: ILdem at March 3, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #210325

Jack, Its not how low Im willing to go, its how low the repubs have sank by suggesting that this modification to existing labor laws takes away “rights” of the working people of this country. All this law does is make it easier for the unions to organize. Taking away one of the tools of the union busters and their hired guns is in fact helping the working class of this country.
If you and other repubs are truely concerned about the plight of the workers fight to get the trade agreements such as NAFTA revised to include workers rights and environmental protections for workers of other countries that have fallen prey to the multinationals of this world. Lets level the playing field, Jack, and let the “free market” become the free market.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #210326

BillS

If both management and union officials are personally liable for violations, it will be fair in that respect. It is generally difficult to hold people responsible for things over which they may have limited actual control or knowledge.

One thing union organizers hate is perhaps truth. Sometimes margins are so small that if the union drives up costs people will lose their jobs. I have some work around the tree farm. I can honestly tell people that if it costs me $10 an hour I will hire someone, but if the price goes higher I will either do it myself of not do it at all. I think that information is important for the worker to know. It is not a threat; it is merely a statement of fact.

You are a skilled carpenter and you can do many things I cannot do myself. I have to pay what you ask IF I need a skilled carpenter. But I have options, such as not having the work done, going with prefabricated materials or changing designs so that skilled work is less required. Unions often downplay these sorts of things. If management reminds them, it is not union busting.

Traveller

Just keep the secret ballot. Just give the choice. All the other commentary is not really relevant.

I agree that neither union nor management should intimidate employees. I think management should be open with workers. That might include telling them about the costs of a union and how that could affect jobs. A union probably will mean fewer jobs and a greater reliance on seniority over merit. It may well be worth the cost, but there is a cost.

There is also a different interests among different workers. A young ambitious guy many receive less benefit than an older man who has not recently updated his skills. Management has the right to point that out too.

What you seem to want is the right to give the workers only the union side.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #210328

IlDem, Adrienne, Traveller , j2t2 et al

I have never met THE worker and neither have you because he does not exist. We have a workforce. Most of us belong to that workforce and none of us represent more than one worker. We all have different relationships, desires and needs. If a union represents those needs, by all means, have a union. But the individuals should decide. Nobody needs to speak for the workers and nobody has that right because we can just ask them.

If an employee doesn’t want a union, he is not a traitor and if he tells management about union activities he is not a snitch. He just disagrees that a union is necessary and perhaps does not want one forced on him. The union represents the workers at a firm ONLY if the workers agree. Let them decide.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #210334

Adrienne
I think you meant tomd not tomh; forgiven

Organized labor is bid business. I have to laugh because of a strike of the office personnel at the UAW headquarters a number of years ago. And guess what the big wigs crossed the picket line. Are they not scabs? Hypocrisy to the nth degree.

I was personally thrown out of a local union at a factory for going to lunch with a friend who happened to be black. He also was thrown out. So much for looking after the worker. Hypocrisy to the nth degree.

I worked for management in a factory whose workforce was Teamster. While negotiating a new contract the workforce went on strike. Since I worked for the management I went to work. After a few days some members of the workforce came to my house and burned up a ‘55 Chevy that I was restoring. I was fortunate enough to catch one of the three, and broke both his legs. After that they did not try to intimidate me. Of course there is more to that story. I only gave you the highlights.

I still am not anti-union. There is a time a place for it. And I will stand by the claim that organized labor is big business.

Posted by: tomh at March 3, 2007 1:54 PM
Comment #210339
All this law does is make it easier for the unions to organize.

Yes, exactly. It is not about what is best for the worker, allowing them to vote their conscience in secret away from their coworkers who they have to work with every day, no it is about MAKING IT EASIER FOR UNIONS TO ORGANIZE. That is is completely undemocratic to say the least is irrelevant in the minds of the supporters.

Taking away one of the tools of the union busters and their hired guns is in fact helping the working class of this country.

Not if it means not requiring a secret vote. Sorry, but you are going to have to do better than that. Are you meaning to tell me that all of the tools that the union busters use can’t be countered WITHOUT requiring a secret ballot. What are these tools that denying the right to a secret ballot on something so important is the only way to counter it? Are the dems THAT stupid that they can’t come up with a better solution, one that doesn’t help ensure that a worker now has to let his coworkers know how he votes in a unionization election? And are the unions willing to let the de-certification of a union vote be done the same way? They demand that THOSE votes be done in secret…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #210340
The claim that the Employer Free Choice Act takes away the right to a secret ballot is a lie. What it does is require the company to recognize the bargaining unit if a majority of employees express the desire to form a union.

So, let me get this straight.

Currently, if a majority of people working at a company sign their union cards, then a secret ballot is called for. Under the new law, if a majority of people working at a company sign their union cards, they are union and that’s it.

Exactly *HOW* does this *NOT* take away the need for a secret ballot again?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 2:41 PM
Comment #210341
I cannot see any reason why a public signing of a card would be preferable to a secret ballot. Unions do intimidate employees. I have personally experienced this. Employers also intimidate employees. In both cases a secret ballot is better. The only reason union bosses do not want to have secret ballots is that they want to limit worker choice.

It limits the amount of time that employers can harrass, fire and intimidate employees who would truly like to unionize.

SOooo, you’re saying that the ONLY way we can limit the amount of time between the expression of a desire of a unionization vote and actually voting on the union with a secret ballot is to just eliminate that step of the process? We couldn’t, oh I don’t know, put a time limit of a week on that process so that this doesn’t occur, etc? In order to resolve the issue we have to remove the need for a secret ballot, one that is in place for the sole purpose for allowing workers to vote as they want without anyone knowing how they vote so that they don’t have to be pressured from any side on that decision?

Really? You actually believe what you are saying here?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 2:44 PM
Comment #210343

Traveller, from your own CUT AND PASTE of the law as it was passed:

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization

And you actually say, with a straight face, that this law does not take away the right of a secret ballot?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #210344

Jack,

“One thing union organizers hate is perhaps truth.”

When I first became an organizer one of the first things I was taught was “Never ever lie to the workers. If you get caught in a lie, and if you lie you WILL get caught eventually, your credibility is gone forever.”

The truth is that labor is subject to market forces just like any other commodity. It is possible for labor to price itself out of the market.
The main benefit in union membership is being treated with dignity and respect. I work in the construction industry and the reason I joined the union is that I got sick of being treated like a slave and having to risk my life to keep my job.

“Just keep the secret ballot. Just give the choice. All the other commentary is not really relevant.”

A choice is what I’m fighting for. “All the other commentary” is quite relevent. It exposes the lies being told about unions and this legislation. Is that why you don’t want it told?

“What you seem to want is the right to give the workers only the union side.”

That is exactly what I want-to be able to present pro union arguments without the workers being afraid they’ll lose their jobs for listening. The companies can present their arguments; why shouldn’t the unions be able to?

People join unions because without a union they have no voice. Employers simply won’t listen to their concerns because they don’t have to. I’ve been fired from jobs for asking for a raise and for insisting on being provided with proper safety equipment and refusing to risk my life for no good reason.

The only way workers can form a union is if a majority decide it’s what they want. Let them decide without fear or intimidation.

Posted by: traveller at March 3, 2007 2:49 PM
Comment #210346
The only way workers can form a union is if a majority decide it’s what they want. Let them decide without fear or intimidation.

I agree, and the *ONLY* way this can be done is with a secret ballot. Are you now agreeing with the need for one?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #210347

Jack

“I have never met THE worker and neither have you because he does not exist. We have a workforce. Most of us belong to that workforce and none of us represent more than one worker. We all have different relationships, desires and needs. If a union represents those needs, by all means, have a union. But the individuals should decide. Nobody needs to speak for the workers and nobody has that right because we can just ask them.”

Yes Jack each worker has somewhat different relationships with their employer. However the problems of one are generally the same problems experienced by most. Without the union we could probably express our views all we want. But in my experiences nobody on the other side ever really listened or cared. In general they were usually just entertaining our thoughts as a means of a half hearted attempt at shutting us up and hoping the problems would go away without union intervention. If workers are seeking union representation it is generally because they are not being fairly treated by their employer. Nowhere in this legislation does it say that the employee can not make a choice one way or the other. Or that making the wrong choice will result in problems for them. If this were the 50’s or 60’s your viewpoint may carry some weight. But as it stands I see it as archaic and nothing more than negative, unnecesary republican spin.

“If an employee doesn’t want a union, he is not a traitor and if he tells management about union activities he is not a snitch. He just disagrees that a union is necessary and perhaps does not want one forced on him. The union represents the workers at a firm ONLY if the workers agree. Let them decide.”

I agree that anyone who does not want to join a union is not a traitor. They have every right not to join and that right should be respected. The snitches I was referring to would be people who willingly joined the union or perhaps joined at the request of management with ill intentions in mind. On more that one occasion we had stewards hired into mangagement in the middle of contract negotiations. And I can guarantee you that such managerial ploys were much less than honorable. A fellow brother who sells out his comrades to further his own agenda IS a snitch and in my opinion worthy of no respect.

Posted by: ILdem at March 3, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #210349

Jack:

“Workers can join unions but unions have to earn their support. We need to protect the right to make choices free from coercion, pressure, bribery or dishonesty. The secret ballot is the best way to protect workers’ rights.”

As Traveller so well explained, corporations have been responsible for “coercion, pressure, bribery or dishonesty.” The unions have lost power and could not do these things even if they wanted to.

As usual you see only the business point of view, and you blame everything on unions. Sure, some unions were corrupt in the past. But this does not mean that all future unions will be corrupt. You don’t apply this logic to business; why do you use it for unions?

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 3, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #210350

Paul,

You just gave one of the reasons there should be a secret ballot vote on whether a union is put into place or not.

Some unions are corrupt, some businesses are corrupt. The *ONLY* way to ensure that a worker is voting for a union because he wants one and not because of peer pressure, coercion, bribery, etc is to allow them to make that vote in private and secretly.

How can ANYONE, especially a liberal, be for removing that need from the process?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 3:28 PM
Comment #210351

California Representative Hilda L. Solis explains it quite well in this editorial:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20070302/cm_huffpost/042466;_ylt=AnDVGn156osUvVgvkPOrIU3MWM0F

“The current system stacks the deck against workers. If a majority of workers sign authorization cards to join a union, an employer can refuse to recognize that union and force a secret ballot election. Most employers demand the additional step of a secret ballot election. During the weeks it takes to organize this election, the employers often organize mandatory meetings to all but threaten workplace closure or massive layoffs of workers.”

“Once the secret ballot election is conducted, some pro-union workers may have been illegally fired to scare other workers into voting against the union. These illegal firings happen all too frequently to constituents of mine”

Posted by: KansasDem at March 3, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #210352

KansasDem,

So the answer is to eliminate the secret ballot? These issues simply cannot be addressed in any other way, like only allowing a 1 week time period for a secret ballot, making it illegal for someone to be fired for any reason during this 1 week time period, etc?

This is the ONLY option?

And if that is the case, shouldn’t an amendment be put into place that the de-unionization process should be the same, that a secret-ballot is not necessary there too?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 3:36 PM
Comment #210353

Rhinehold,

And a business would not simply fire those employees after the one week period? A business would not simply come up with some other reason for firing an employee interested in organizing? If you have a realistic alternative I would like to hear it.

Posted by: Max at March 3, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #210354


You said this:

““One thing union organizers hate is perhaps truth.”

When I first became an organizer one of the first things I was taught was “Never ever lie to the workers. If you get caught in a lie, and if you lie you WILL get caught eventually, your credibility is gone forever.”….
traveller at March 3, 2007 02:49 PM”

And you said this:

“The claim that the Employer Free Choice Act takes away the right to a secret ballot is a lie. What it does is require the company to recognize the bargaining unit if a majority of employees express the desire to form a union”

Which was debunked by Rhinehold:

“Traveller, from your own CUT AND PASTE of the law as it was passed:

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization
And you actually say, with a straight face, that this law does not take away the right of a secret ballot?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 02:48 PM ”

and others.

Guess you just lost your credibility

Posted by: tomd at March 3, 2007 3:50 PM
Comment #210355

Max,

And if after that secret ballot a union is approved, wouldn’t any firing have to go through the union board that will be created?

And if the ballot is secret, how would the employer know who to fire?

Are you seriously telling me that a secret ballot is less democratic than a public one open to peer pressure, union pressure AND employer pressure on the employee?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 3:51 PM
Comment #210357

Traveller

I am a self professed advocate & partisan. I never lie if you mean saying things that I know to be untrue. But I am sure you would agree that I am not unbiased. I do not have a monopoly on true and unions sure do not. That is why I always welcome debate even when I do not agree. Unions want to be the only voice.

Re choice – we agree that employees should have a union if a majority wants it. We disagree as to how that is measured. I do not trust unions or management. That is why I want a secret ballot. BTW – how would you decertify a union? If a group of workers who didn’t like the union got a majority of the workers to sign a card saying the union should go? Would that be enough? A good test of justice is its reverse. If you do not think that what I just said is just, you cannot think given a union a victory in the same way can be any better.

ILDem

Workers can have a union if most of them want one. We differ re how to determine that. I have been a worker. If asked in secret I would have voted against the union. But I would not have said the same in a group.

I do some public speaking. I can go into a room and in a couple of minutes get the audience to agree to lots of things. But I know many will change their minds soon after I leave. That is why we have cooling off periods. If you go to that time share sale, you may well agree to that condo in the Cayman Islands, but you may change your mind.

A secret ballot is the recognized way of avoiding intimidation and coercion. It makes those things almost impossible. Let the workers themselves choose as individuals.

Paul

I do not always trust business and I do not trust unions any more or less. Both will be honest most of the time, but not always. Both need to be kept honest when the stakes are high. The secret ballot helps keep them both honest. It applies to both.

Kansas

The secret ballot protects the workers against both unions and management. Our California colleague betrays her bias. She wants the union to win before anybody has a chance to make counter arguments and she does not want to let workers make a considered and private decision.

The additional step of actually voting is what we usually require in assessing choice. Maybe our California congresswoman will not bother with the election when her term is up. She can just get a lot of people to sign a petition.

Max

Why not let everyone who WAS an employee the day the cards were signed vote in the election? Then if the pro-union guys were fired, they could still participate.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 4:11 PM
Comment #210360

So far I have heard excuses for not having a secret ballot.

Ok, we got that out of the way. Now I would like to hear some sane, reasonable, logically correct reasons for not having a secret ballot. The secret ballot is such a fundamental principle that to argue against it brings on all those negative feelings and attitudes one can muster. So, I am waiting for those reasons, not excuses.

Posted by: tomh at March 3, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #210361
Are you seriously telling me that a secret ballot is less democratic than a public one open to peer pressure, union pressure AND employer pressure on the employee?

I’m saying that signing a card is easier to me than going to a meeting when I may or may not be fired for attending. It would be less public and coercive to me. It seems to me there’s less room for abuse too. I can just take a card and then say I’ve sent it in, whereas simply by attending a meeting I can be fired.

Posted by: Max at March 3, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #210362

And you can’t get fired for signing the card? If the employer wants to get rid of the union all they have to do is fire those who voted for it publicly and then have the remaining workers de-certify the union…

And I agree, it is MUCH easier to simply sign a card, if you want the union. If you DON’T want the union, well, I guess your opinion doesn’t count. If you don’t want to deal with peer pressure, well again, you’re just out of luck I suppose…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 5:13 PM
Comment #210364

It is so ironic. Some Dems complain after any election they do not win about intimidation, which includes things like giving people dirty looks. As far as they are concerned, no safeguard short of their winning is sufficient.

On the other hand, they seem to believe that casting a vote in the open, maybe in a meeting with hundreds of partisans, is the ultimate in freedom of choice.

I guess the common theme is that they win. Any election is fair if they win.

I am sorry, but Republicans support a secret ballot because we are not always as sure as you are that you should always win. We prefer that old fashioned voting thing.

Max

Yes, it sure is much easier to get people to sign a card when you can bring along some of the boys to stand aroundm, of course in a non-threatening manner. It is easier not to hold elecions at all, since we already know the result. What was that other union that did that sort of thing. Oh yeah, the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #210370

Anything that the republicans and big corps. support CAN NOT be good for working class folks. And saying the reps support open amd honest elections is just a joke dirty politics is they you win and if that don,t work cheat. [as in 2000]

Posted by: Jeff at March 3, 2007 6:27 PM
Comment #210371

Why did ann coulter call John Edwards a FAGIT just more dirty poltics !!!!

Posted by: Jeff at March 3, 2007 6:31 PM
Comment #210375

“Why did ann coulter call John Edwards a FAGIT just more dirty poltics !!!!

Posted by: Jeff at March 3, 2007 06:31 PM”

I don’t know, I don’t speak for her. What does Ann Coulter or John Edwards have to do with this topic?

Posted by: tomd at March 3, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #210376

Jack
This cooling off period is the problem. It is used to stack and coerce workers. I have no objections to a secret ballot provided it is done quickly,say 24-48 hours or so. Management has had plenty of time to show themselves before. 8 hours a day,40 hours a week. The fact that the employees want a union is de facto proof that management has failed to treat workers decently. Ask any organizor out there. A company that treats workers with respect and dignity can not be organized and does not need to be.

Posted by: BillS at March 3, 2007 6:42 PM
Comment #210382

If Ann Coulter write in, I suggest you ask her. Otherwise why bring it up.

BillS

It is not primie facia evidence that management has done a poor job. It could be the workers just wonder if they could do better (who doesn’t) or maybe the union activist just convinced them things are bad. GIve them a little time to think AND let management explain its side. Maybe there is a good reason why times are hard for the firm.

You may recall the story re the union that negotiated a contract that guaranteed high wages, excellent benefits and shorter hours. When the management asked in exasperation if there was anything else, the union guy said, “We want a guarantee you will not go out of business.” Nobody can guarantee that sort of thing. Unions sometimes forget to mention that. That is one reason why so many autos are made in Kentucky and Tennessee these days instead of in Michigan.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 7:36 PM
Comment #210398

The problem is runaway corporate management. The profits for corporations are at record levels. The rewards for record levels of production has not been passed on to employees. The shareholders have been unable to rein in out of control management compensation. Those at the lower end of the employment food chain have no bargaining power as the strength of the unions has dwindled and the threat of off shoring illegal immigration and outsourcing is ever present. The middle class and lower class have been bearing the burden of globalization since the days of Reagan. As our living standards slide due to globalization we are told it is best for the world as all living standards will rise. Hogwash. Without fair trade agreements that alllow for rising living standards for the working class in the low cost countries its just more lies. The unions have been fighting against the rising tide of the south americanization of this country for years,despite the nefarious laws passed by the anti union forces.

I believe we need stronger unions because they have proven in the past to be effective in creating a middle class in this country, much more so than the corporations that seek to destroy the middlre class. Any labor laws changes in the last 25 years needs to be reviewed and corrected to favor the unions. We need to look at all trade agreement made in the past 25 years and ensure that they promote the best interests of the middle class people of this country. What is wrong with competition it is afterall a tenet of the free market system. Level the playing field give the most productive workforce in the world a chance.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2007 9:58 PM
Comment #210404

According to the study linked to by KansasDem 1 in 5 people who try and organize a union are fired. I haven’t heard about any intimidation to join a union from union members other than Jack’s story. So… if this is such a common thing why not do some research and link to some studies regarding the problem? What is obvious is that businesses are making it difficult for people to organize.

Posted by: Max at March 3, 2007 10:25 PM
Comment #210410

Max,

I am not opposed to making it easier to organize. I *AM* opposed to taking away the ability for people to vote for the union with a secret ballot.

Why do you think one has to do with the other?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 10:40 PM
Comment #210411

Max,

The argument is NOT that this makes it easier to organize, we all recognize that it will. The issue is that the supporters of this bill say that it is ‘more democratic’. Please explain how voting in public is more democratic than voting in private?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 10:42 PM
Comment #210413

j2t2

Unions can do good. They do not always do so. I want to trust the workers to choose and give them that chance. The secret ballot gives them that choice w/o pressure.

Max

Maybe they try to start a union because they are the kind that might get fired. In any case, I agree that worker have the right to join a union IF that is what they want.

We do not have a problem if we go with the secret ballot. Let the workers themselves decide w/o intimidation from either unions or management.

BTW - I was not threatened to join the union. Ours was a closed union shop. I had to pay dues; I had to join the union and I paid initiation fees - four times. The union didn’t mind if I got in, as long as they got the money. The union took the money. That is all they wanted from me. I probably helped pay for a casino is Las Vegas.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #210416

Jack & Rhinehold,

If by trying to organize and or simply going to a meeting can get you fired, that’s not really democratic either. My point is that the system is hardly perfect as is, and the cards are currently stacked in businesses’ favor. It’s very hard to organize without a business interfering or without fear of reprisal. These cards can obviously be abused as well, but I would be interested in seeing where it leads. I don’t think the current situation is working.

Posted by: Max at March 3, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #210419


I for one can’t see what this bill will acheive. With the exception of a few unions that can achieve a positive outcome by stricking within a couple of weeks is prety much done for. Most workers arent union and many of them that are expect their unions to achieve positive results in negotiations without the necessity of a strike. The workers are for the most part, up to their eyeballs in debt and can’t afford to strike. They have fallen into the trap and castrated themselves.

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2007 11:06 PM
Comment #210420

There are legitimate concerns with organizing. If you hire someone to work eight hours, and he spends two hours a day talking to others and not doing the job you are paying him to do, what do you do?

I think it is a legitmate concern and a place where both sides would have a point re organizing at work. Should an outsider be able to come into the workplace? If unions cannot speak to workers during the workday or on employer premises, where can they do it?

These are legitimate concerns. If a guy is trying to organize a union, he probably is not doing some of his work. How much should an employer tolerate?

I am sure it is hard to organize a union. It might be as hard as starting or running a successful business.

That does not change the need for a secret ballot. If the workers want a union, they can vote for one. Unions are not w/o costs. There are valid reasons why a worker might not want one where he/she works.

Posted by: Jack at March 3, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #210423
Unions aren’t some third party imposing its will on the employees. The employees ARE the union.

Dang! That’s the second time recently I’ve found myself in agreement with traveler. There’s hope for one of us yet. :)

The intimidation isn’t coming from unions. It’s coming from employers.

Damned straight. And if you don’t think that’s what’s going on, just consider the fact that the only opposition to this bill is from corporate management and their mouthpieces. I say let’s give the edge to the working folk.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 3, 2007 11:26 PM
Comment #210424

So when it comes to union organizing the righties are pro choice. Give the workers the choice. That is exactly what has happened with this legislation. Now, with a streamed line process, the choice can be made sooner. Is it protection your looking for,for ther workers of course, then use the same method businesses everywhere use. The 3 days to change your mind after signing a contract. It works for the business community it can work here.
As a good business manknows we must realize that if something is not working, which is the case with the secret ballot, then to be successful it must give way to a methodology that does work. That is what is going on here. We have lived with the “secret ballot” approach for years and it has not proven to be effective so a change has been made to rectify the situation. I say give it a chance.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2007 11:28 PM
Comment #210426
the only opposition to this bill is from corporate management and their mouthpieces

Wow, I’m a ‘mouthpiece for corporate management’ now?

As a good business manknows we must realize that if something is not working, which is the case with the secret ballot, then to be successful it must give way to a methodology that does work

I think we can all agree that our federal voting system isn’t working, let’s just get rid of the ‘voting in secret’ thing and make everyone fill out a form with their name, address, etc stating how they vote. Will be harder to rig I suppose, paper trail will be in place, sounds like it’s right up the current Democratic leadership’s alley…

Individual rights? Bah, we don’t need those things, heck the majority said so, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 11:46 PM
Comment #210429

Rhinehold.
Individual rights have not been affected by this law. In deed just the opposite, they have been helped. Those that want to organize can now do so much easier.If the majority of these individuals nay say the union then so be it. If the majority vote in the union then those oppose can always go elsewhere to work. That is a positive for this Country. The group rights of the corporation have taken a hit, but you were talking about individual rights. Surely you dont believe that corporations should have the same rights as a living breathing person do you?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2007 11:55 PM
Comment #210430
Wow, I’m a ‘mouthpiece for corporate management’ now?

Rhinehold, I know you’re a decent guy. I prefer to think of you as an unsuspecting shill. :)

let’s just get rid of the ‘voting in secret’ thing and make everyone fill out a form with their name, address, etc stating how they vote.

Ah, back to the way our founders set it up. Good idea!

As Jack pointed out somewhere, we didn’t have secret ballots until after the Civil War. Perhaps their time has come and gone.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 3, 2007 11:57 PM
Comment #210433

j2t2

I little to add to your statement: “We have lived with the ‘secret ballot’ approach for years and it has not proven to be effective so a change has been made to rectify the situation. I say give it a chance.”

Darn that secret ballot. It is not effective in producing the result union activists want. Too much choice for those workers who do not know what they want.

AP

I didn’t say that secret ballots came in only after the Civil War. That is not accurate. My point was the the Dems back in the post Civil War south had the same sorts of problems with those pesky voters that modern Dems have. Some people insist on making their own choices.


As with j2t2, I can add little to your statment re secret ballots: “Perhaps their time has come and gone.”

This issue is really smoking out the true Dem ideology. You guys do not like the secret ballot. We get it. I am just surprised you admit it so openly.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #210434
Individual rights have not been affected by this law. In deed just the opposite, they have been helped. Those that want to organize can now do so much easier.

And those that don’t want to organize are pretty much screwed. So much for individual rights. OR, were you just mentioning the individual rights of those that want a union? Those are the only ones that matter?

When a union is attempting to be formed, a petition or ‘signing cards’ are sent around. Currently if a certain number of the union members sign the petition (I’ve seen both 30 and 50% reported, looking into the actual law now) a secret vote is held.

Now, there is the possibility that someone might sign the petition but not want the union because their coworkers will know if they do or don’t sign. So, for the benefit of their future working relationships with their coworkers they publicly say ok and then privately vote against, knowing that no one will ever know that they said no.

Now, however, if they say yes in front of their coworkers, that could enact a union so they are going to either have to say yes and suffer or say no and then have to deal with the aftermath of his working environment now that his coworkers konw that he was against the union they wanted.

Nice huh? Great position we are putting the workers in. But oh right, this isn’t about the workers, it’s about making unions more easy to form. THAT is my point, this has nothing to do with making sure that each individual worker is treated fairly, it’s the big picture, knowing what is best for those poor fools and getting them a union whether they want one or not.

If the majority of these individuals nay say the union then so be it.

Except now they have to try to work with those coworkers who wanted one, with them KNOWING that they voted no. What kind of working condition do you think they are going to have after that? Might as well start looking for a new job at that point I suppose…

If the majority vote in the union then those oppose can always go elsewhere to work.

Actually, they’ll have to either way, as I pointed out.

That is a positive for this Country.

If you think allowing peer pressure to rule the day and prevent workers from being able to vote for something as important as a union without fear of that coercion is a good thing, then huzzah!

However, if you really look deep in your heart and realize that this is a crappy thing to do to someone and that there MUST be a better way of dealing with the issues this is ‘suppose’ to resolve, then you might realize like I do that this sucks big … well, it is just a horrible precident.

The group rights of the corporation have taken a hit, but you were talking about individual rights.

Yup, that’s what I’m concerned about, individual rights. As a libertarian I’m an individualist. It seems that the democrats these days, at least the current majority in the house, are more socialist than individualist in nature. As this bill points out clearly. :(

I’m concerned about every individual worker, even that one that doesn’t want to vote for the union but doesn’t want to have to say that in public for fear of what might happen to him afterwards. If reforms are needed and corporations are destroying the intent of the law, then reform it. But don’t do it on the backs of those individuals that will be hurt by this.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 4, 2007 12:21 AM
Comment #210436
If you think allowing peer pressure to rule the day and prevent workers…

Rhinehold, the choice is between employees definitely being intimidated by management under the secret ballot system, and employees maybe possibly being intimidated after the fact (for some vague reason no opponent of this bill has yet clearly explained) under a transparent system.

As for libertarianism, I understand that even the very idea of collective bargaining is anathema to a strict libertarian like yourself, but its a good thing for workers in general.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 4, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #210437

BTW, most of the opposition to this bill now seems to center on the assumption that workers who don’t want to unionize (for some un-understandable reason) are a bunch of pussies who are afraid ro stand up and say it.

So now we see that your opinion of working folk is as knuckle-draggers, illiterate idiots and sheepish cowards.

I disagree.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 4, 2007 12:33 AM
Comment #210438

Another reason a worker might sign is to get a resolution. If some my fellow workers were complaining all the time re a union, I would sign the card for the election and then vote against it. Then we would see what the majority really wanted.

I have found that those who say they speak for the people rarely do. Elections, with secret ballots, show them that.

It is like popular kid in school saying that everybody in class agrees with him. The nerds may not speak up against the big man, but if asked to vote the results may be different.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 12:34 AM
Comment #210441

AP,

You make a few invalid statements.

First, you mention that as a libertarian unions are an anathema to me. To me INDIVIDUALLY, yes. But I’ve also stated many times that those who want one should have one, they are beneficial to some and I wouldn’t want to prevent anyone, individually, from coming together in the form of a union and addressing grievances. Of course, why the straw man argument I don’t know, it has nothing at all to do with what we are discussing.

Second, you state that the choice is between employees definitely being intimidated by management under the secret ballot system, and employees maybe possibly being intimidated after the fact (for some vague reason no opponent of this bill has yet clearly explained) under a transparent system. Actually, that is not the choice at all. Let’s explain the choice more clearly.

The choice is between the following options:

The current situation where workers are intimidated by coworkers who are pro-union to sign the petition, unions who want the union to sign the petition, and employers who do not want the union to vote against the union. A secret ballot is then offered to the individual worker so that they can vote what they really want without anyone knowing how they voted.

The new option the bill proposes where workers will be intimidated by coworkers who are pro-union to sign the petition and unions who want the union to sign the petition. Employers will have to suck it up and live with it. The individual worker will not be afforded the opportunity to vote how they really want without everyone knowing.

Third you say “So now we see that your opinion of working folk is as knuckle-draggers, illiterate idiots and sheepish cowards. I disagree.”

Really? Then why can’t these pro-union workers stand up to their bosses and say they are going to vote for the union no matter the intimidation they experience…? Oh right, they are in need of the protection of this new law to avoid that. How duplicitous.

Fourth you say “and employees maybe possibly being intimidated after the fact (for some vague reason no opponent of this bill has yet clearly explained) under a transparent system.”

Vague reason? Let’s see, here’s a perfect example that I can see happening in every factory I’ve worked in.

Workers A, B, and C work together. A and B want to unionize and talk about it ALL the time. Worker C does not but let’s them go on and on about it until one day A and B find out there is a petition going around to start a union. They need 3 more signatures and they both readily sign and take the petition to C who they have lunch with and work with on the same line every day. They hand the petition over to Worker C and say ‘hey, look we just need a few more signatures, here you go, sign’. Now, the workers has two choices. He can sign the petition in front of his coworkers and then vote against the union during the secret ballot OR he can tell his coworkers what he thinks, knowing that most likely his coworkers may very well not speak to him as much, or very nicely, and his property will most likely be damaged (car keyed, tires punctured, radio he brings to work missing, etc).

Without the secret ballot, that worker would not have the ability to say do as I said. Instead he would HAVE to make a scene in his working environment and decide whether to go along with the union even though he does NOT want one or say no, I don’t want a union, and deal with the repercussions of his public display. Nevermind that the union organizers would also know, who knows what that will mean in the form of pressure and intimidation…

The funny thing is that you either a) don’t think this type of peer pressure is prevalent in factories or other working environments or b) don’t care that this person will have to be put on the spot like this as long as it means the union will get a better chance of being implemented.

Finally I can’t believe that the Democratic leadership writing this legislation didn’t a) think this was an issue or b) couldn’t come up with a better way to deal with the possibility of employer intimidation without opening up this can of worms and taking away the ability for an individual worker to be able to vote his conscious without having to make it a public declaration.

I see that you are all for all kinds of votes to be public declarations, but I really don’t think most Americans are willing to go down that road just yet…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 4, 2007 12:59 AM
Comment #210444

Jack, you act as if those innocent corporate overlords didnt cause the secret ballot law to happen as a means to interfere with the unionizing process. You act as if this law was put in place by the founding fathers and levelled the playing field for both the worker and the company. We both know it doesnt, in fact it does just the opposite it gives the corporate overlords the upper hand. Well what exactly do you free market types have against playing fair. If this was a football game would you guys need 15 players on the field at one time before you thought both sides had the same chanced to win the game?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #210445

Rhinehold seems like there is a conflict between indivuals and their individual rights, why are you only concerned about the nonunion individual but not the union individual? Is it because you are more interested in the rights of the corporation than the rights of the individual? Afterall as we have seen posted here many times before and as I said in my previous post the individual on the losing side of the vote is still free to move on to another job that fits his requirements. So with that in mind it seems neither individuals rights are really infringed upon.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 1:38 AM
Comment #210446
why are you only concerned about the nonunion individual but not the union individual?

I’m not, I think all individual workers should be able to vote for or against a union in private away from the prying eyes of the employer, the unions and the co-workers.

Is it because you are more interested in the rights of the corporation than the rights of the individual?

Where did you pull that out of? My concern is with the individual, being an individualist. Try your rhetoric elsewhere…

This is not about winning or losing, it’s about being fair to the individual and not putting him in a position to have to publicly declare his vote with so many different forces around to coerce and pressure him.

Does the individual being able to do that somehow give you the willies?

And please, you’ve made this statement before and it’s the statement I’ve been BEGGING someone to defend with logic. You say “it gives the corporate overlords the upper hand”. How exactly does a private, secret ballot ‘give the corporate overlords the upper hand’? And do not come up with ‘they can prolong the process’ because that means the process needs to be retooled and fixed, not that the simple act of a secret vote is itself flawed. If those writing the bill were smart they could have easily found a remedy that would keep the secret ballot intact while addressing the other concerns, but they didn’t. Why is that?

Please, what is it about giving the workers the ability to vote for a union in secret that is ‘undemocratic’ or ‘gives the company the upper hand’? I’m sure you can come up with something that doesn’t include rhetoric or touch on the process surrounding the vote, right? I mean, it’s so obvious to the dems, us silly libertarians just can’t see it clearly…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 4, 2007 1:55 AM
Comment #210448

Rhinehold, Time is money, We live in a fast paced society today. The new law will speed up the process of union organizing. The secret ballot and the process surrounding it takes to long and favors the company to the detriment of the union. That is why the corporation controlled republican party is up in arms over this law. It is , in essence a slap in the face of the corporations than run the country today.
In and of its self there is nothing wrong with the secret ballot. However because previous law intentionally made the secret ballot process cumbersome and worked against the efforts of the union organizers the law needed to be revised. So out goes the baby with the bathwater, all because the repubs wrote a bad law to begin with. The new law in effect leveled the playing field for the union. Does this mean the unions will now be on easy street and will have its menbership ranks swollen with new members? Probably not, but it does give them a chance to regain a foothold-at least in this country. As you know the secret ballot is used when we vote for our elected representatives. However experience has taught us that what works in a democracy does not always work in a dictatorship. So as we know the corporation is not a democracy it is a dictatorship, therefore other methods must be used to gain an inroad into the corporation.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 2:40 AM
Comment #210452

When conducting a card check campaign people do have the opportunity to sign in private if they choose to.
Those who wish to sign with the knowledge of their coworkers can, of course.
The organizers also make sure everyone has their phone numbers so they can make private contact if they wish.
We also make house calls. We don’t force our way into anyone’s home. If they tell us they don’t want to talk to us we leave. If they do want to talk to us and then don’t want to sign the card we make sure they know how to contact us if they change their minds and then leave, politely. We are guests in their homes and act accordingly.
If they do sign, the cards are kept private until they are turned over to the NLRB. No one knows they signed unless they tell. The NLRB does not publicize the names and neither do we.
This won’t change if the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law. The argument claiming a loss of privacy or secrecy simply isn’t true.

Jack,
Those guys that scared you when you were working as a longshoreman WERE working men. They were business agents or organizers and they worked a lot of years on those docks before they were chosen for that job. You said you weren’t a member of the union. That means you had no right to ask questions about internal union business. It was none of yours. What those guys were doing was pushing you out to make room for a member.

Posted by: traveller at March 4, 2007 9:17 AM
Comment #210456

J2t2

We just disagree. I believe a secret ballot is a way to prevent intimidation or corruption. You evidently do not think having someone looking over your shoulder when you vote doesn’t matter.

Traveller

A technical question. If they sign in private, can they check off “No” and then send this in w/o the organizers seeing it?

Re the union thugs, my God, how far have we fallen. The union takes my money; it takes an initiation fee four times and never initiates; and I do not have a right to ask where the money went because I am not a member of the union because the union because the union has stolen the money and not done what they were paid to do.

The union is above criticism by any non members, according to you. So when the Teamsters invest with the mob, nobody can ask no questions about daunion. Anybody who asks any question is liable to physical threats and you think that is just fine because former working men are threatening current working men.

And they were not pushing me out to make room for a member. They were happy to let me keep the job. They took the union dues. They took initiation fees - four times. Tony Saprano would have understood their business methods.

And you wonder why people might not want to let these guys in, or why they might be a little afraid to say so.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #210458

Jack, public ballots gives management the potential to fire those who voted FOR union. Don’t talk about intimidation from either perspective, because the potential for intimidation exists for both management and the union if the ballots are public.

Now, make intimidation spawned by a ballot cast one way or another a crime with stiff penalty, and we can try public ballots - provided prosecuting intimidaters is not made a union or management favoring weapon. I don’t think that is possible either, given Republicans general anti-union and Democrats general pro-union positions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2007 10:13 AM
Comment #210461

David

That is why I am for secret ballots. I really am astonished by the robust defense of corruption and intimidation I am seeing on all three parts of our blog. I really thought we had evolved beyond these medieval concepts of group exclusivity protected by force. I would have thought a secret ballot would be generally accepted in any contentious issue where power was unevenly distributed.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 10:35 AM
Comment #210466

Jack, quite right. But the opposition too has a very valid argument. Fundamentally, secret ballots are prone to tally fixing and distrust by both sides when the outcome favors the other. Voting needs to be accountable, and public balloting facilitates that need.

The trick is to ballot with voter’s identities kept secret but the ballots kept highly visible and accountable. There are techniques to allow this. But, I doubt either side wants a tamper proof balloting system. That would be unAmerican by tradition.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2007 11:58 AM
Comment #210467

David

No human system is tamper proof, but some can come fairly close. The anti-secret-ballot side has never argued that labor elections have been dishonest. They do not like the idea of the secret ballot because it is not producting enough union membership.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #210468

“A technical question. If they sign in private, can they check off “No‎ and then send this in w/o the organizers seeing it?”

yes.

Organizers are held to account with strict laws and draconian penalties regarding privacy or any hint of intimidation. We are also taught techniques of persuasion, NOT intimidation.
You keep harping on intimidation by organizers but that’s a fantasy. We don’t organize through intimidation. It’s not only illegal, it’s counterproductive. One of our cardinal rules is “be friendly and deserving of trust”.
If you lose an organizing campaign you sure as hell won’t get any support in future campaigns if you’ve been trying to intimidate people.
Employers, however, are a different story altogether. They DO intimidate people with impunity, sometimes hiring thugs for the dirty work. I know this is true because I’ve seen it and it’s been tried on me and other organizers I know.

Jack,
There has to be more to your story of the longshoremen than you’re telling. It doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve can’t imagine a business agent turning down a paying member. That would be stupid.
If you really did pay the initiation fees four times you’re not very smart.

Posted by: traveller at March 4, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #210469

“No human system is tamper proof, but some can come fairly close. The anti-secret-ballot side has never argued that labor elections have been dishonest. They do not like the idea of the secret ballot because it is not producting enough union membership.”

That labor elections are dishonest is exactly what we’re arguing. We don’t have a problem with a secret ballot. We just want a level playing field and an end to intimidation.

Posted by: traveller at March 4, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #210471

the secret ballot is the only way to insure that niether the co. or the pro-union share of the workers know how he or she voted. if there is an issue of time frame between the time of the signing of a petition, and the vote than that should be adressed.

no matter how hard you try, ie paper trails etc.,to insure the integrity of an election. the losing side is always going to find some flaw or fault to question the outcome. the perfect system will never exist.

as long as unions are only concerned with the work force, and increasing thier membership, and not the needs of the co. to remain competetive, they will continue to see a decline in a unionized work force as employers outsource sending jobs to mexico, india etc.

unfortunately unions tend to breed mediocraty in the work force as those who work hard are treated the same as those who do just enough to get by. the hard working person who go’s beyond the call of duty, is left behind while the the guy next to him is promoted because of seniority, not ability to perform.

my father once owned a medium sized packaging co. the work force was union. one xmas work slowed down, so he decided rather than lay them off at xmas, he found work around the plant for them to do, painting, cleaning and other maint. keep in mind he was paying them thier full union wages. shortly after a small minority of the work foce complained to the union,ie i’m a press operator not a janitor, etc. the union said can’t make them do that work it’s not in thier job description. end result. all were laid of at xmas because of the whinning of the lazy few.

rhienhold and jack make valid points. with out the secret ballot, there is no way to insure employees are not intimidated by either side for thier decision to vote one way or another.

Posted by: dbs at March 4, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #210474

I don’t think anyone is arguing against the merits of a secret ballot. However, we are saying that it’s more and more difficult to organize today without fear of losing one’s job. Jack seems to think this is okay. I don’t, so I am in favor of the sign up cards, because they make organizing easier.

For any of you that worked and lost a job without notice to outsourcing, or are being hired on an “at will” basis, or are receiving only minimal health insurance or benefits. Please think about this. Many businesses today have policies which seriously undermine workers’ quality of life for little or questionable gains. Everything is a balance, and right now American business is out of balance. A lot of current policies are focused on making a quick buck, not on what’s in the companies best interests.

Do you think any CEO would accept being hired “at will” with a board that could let him go any time for no reason with no compensation? Of course not, because that would be unfair. The way American businesses operate today defies commonsense.

Posted by: Max at March 4, 2007 1:50 PM
Comment #210477

dbs, yet its ok to continue with the old law which has proven itself to allow the corporation to intimidate the worker who is in favor of the union?
Why is business against a level playing field when it comes to employees?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 2:13 PM
Comment #210479

max

no matter how the initial attempt to unionize is arranged, the secret ballot will always be needed to insure the final votes are annymous.

wages and benifiets are also driven by the market forces. you have to balance the needs of your work force with your responsabilty to perform for your investors, or they will take thier money elsewhere. i know this is somtimes unfair, but there’s no way of avoiding it.

comparing the hiring of a ceo, to the average employee is like comparing apples to oranges. the pool of highly qualified executives is much smaller. take into consideration thier performance records with other corps. they comand much higher wages and benefits because thier ability to make or break a co. they are in much higher demand companies compete over them, which means they can for the most part right thier own tickets as long as they produce, if they don’t thier gone. companies must offer far more in compensation in order to keep them, or they will move on to the highest bidder.it may not seem fair but few things in life seldom are.

Posted by: dbs at March 4, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #210481

j2t2

each side is always working to gain the upper hand. i won’t say it’s fair, but thats just reality.

keep in mind without the continued finacial viability of the co.,there is no work force to unionize.

Posted by: dbs at March 4, 2007 2:27 PM
Comment #210482

Traveller

I worked there is the summers while going to school. I think they did the same to all of the students. It was sort of like the cops who stop people with out of state license plates. That explains it, but it does not justify it.

Re payment – they take it right out of your paycheck and they will not give it back. That is what I was asking about when the big forearm guys came by.

If you do not have trouble with the secret ballot, why does this legislation seek to limit or eliminate them?

Max

I understand that short circuiting the process will make organizing easier. But why would you want to do that? It is like saying a certain means of election will make electing Republicans (or Democrats) easier. Our goal is not to favor either side, but let the people decide.

Re hired at will - employment is an agreement between employer and worker. The employee can quit when he wants. Most employees cannot be so easily fired even in the absence of a union.

It is very hard to find good workers. If you find someone good, you want to hold onto him/her. What is more, there is a rapidly developing labor shortage, espeacially for skilled workers.

Unions were a good thing in the past. They are sometimes a good thing now. We allow the workers the flexibility to choose. The Dems want to take that away.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #210483

Traveler,

By your own standards you have already blown your credibility. Why should we believe you now?


“When I first became an organizer one of the first things I was taught was “Never ever lie to the workers. If you get caught in a lie, and if you lie you WILL get caught eventually, your credibility is gone forever.‎….
traveller at March 3, 2007 02:49 PM”

And you said this:

“The claim that the Employer Free Choice Act takes away the right to a secret ballot is a lie. What it does is require the company to recognize the bargaining unit if a majority of employees express the desire to form a union”

Which was debunked by Rhinehold:

“Traveller, from your own CUT AND PASTE of the law as it was passed:

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization
And you actually say, with a straight face, that this law does not take away the right of a secret ballot?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 3, 2007 02:48 PM ”

and others.

Guess you just lost your credibility”

Posted by: tomd at March 4, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #210484

dbs, with such income disparity today its obvious that the management side of the equation has benefitted greatly from the old law.
An inability by management to acknowledge the workforce as a contributing factor to the success of the company leads to the need for a stronger union presence within the company if the workforce is to receive a fair shake. This law is but one small step in that direction.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #210487

I am at a loss. A number of you are not concerned with privacy enough to allow a secret ballot which will render nobody the info on who voted which way. It is such a simple concept that is endorsed by society in general. Secret ballot and privacy two very dear principles that some of you want to give up.

Ok so you get your way. The next time we have an election for the congress or the president I would think that somebody should monitor your voting actions so as to know what kind of voter you are and then can deal with that in the way they want to. It does not make sense. It is insanity. You are protecting only the union. You are not protecting the individual worker. This law should be shredded in the nearest paper shreader and those that voted for it should be noted for the elecotorates sake when they are up for election. This should be the lock-out vote.

Posted by: tomh at March 4, 2007 3:33 PM
Comment #210494

tomh, So with a democracy we should follow the same rules as we would for a dictatorship? Think Iraq. Is the CEO of the corporation democratically elected by the workers,the board and shareholders? Does the corporation have elected representatives voted on by the workers? Are the workers allowed to determine which union busting activities the CEO will use. Do the workers get to vote on what type of intimidation they will be subject to during the secret ballot process?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #210496

j2t2

when you speak of managment. are you refering to upper such as ceo, coo, and cfo, because there is a big difference between the compensation of the afore mentioned, and what i would call middle managment, supervisor etc. if you’re refering to ceo and such. see my earlier post 210479, this is why there is a large difference in compensation.

workers have the right to unionize if they so choose, however the same workers also have the right to decide how to vote secretly so that they will not face intimidation from either managment or co-workers. i do not condone intimidation by either side, but each side is going to work for its own best interest, and making the vote public for all to see will only increase this activity by each side.

Posted by: dbs at March 4, 2007 5:06 PM
Comment #210499

dbs, I have seen your reasoning for such an income disparity however I dont necessarily agree that this is the only causes for such disparity. In fact this just seems to be the mantra of the CEO as they defend their overly compenstaed selves.
To me you seem to be saying that the entire world has dumbed itself down the past 3 decades.Despite much more education, despite many more candidiates to choose from, despite many more advanced degrees in business, despite many more opportunities we cannot produce enough CEO type’s? Why all of a sudden is there such a lack of talent to fill the upper management positions? Back in the 60’s when management compensation was much more in line with the position, people were found to do the job. Another theory you might wanrt to look at is the possibility the CEO,s are able to take this money because the Board of Directors are all yes men that are not doing the job they are supposed to do. Well we are getting off topic so I will stop here.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 5:35 PM
Comment #210500

dbs, And just maybe its because these CEO types have gave enough money to politcal types over the years to buy the laws they need to allow themselves the opportunity to pillage the corporation they serve at will. Lets level the playing field, so that more can join in the “new economy”.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #210502

j2t2

I understand you have a problem with how the free market is organized. A firm is not a democracy. Some things are not subject to the voting process. We do not vote on its leadership as individuals. Owners vote in proportion to what they own. Just like if all my neigbors vote to divide my stuff among them, we do not allow that.

The workers come to a firm knowing what kind of thing it is.

A union has on rights that the workers do not give it. The workers have a right to unionize. The union does not have a right to exist. The order is very important. We need to determine whether or not the workers want a union. You believe that union activists should just be able to gather signatures and then be recognized. I doubt if you would tolerate that sort of thing anywhere else. Both unions and employers can use coercion and both have in the past done so. The best way to protect workers is through a secret ballot.

It is very interesting that union organizers are so against giving the workers the chance to vote. Perhaps they understand that unions are not as popular among the rank and file as they say.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #210501

j2t2
I now understand. You are equating a secret ballot with dictatorship activity. That is exactly what you said.

Posted by: tomh at March 4, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #210505

tomh, nice try. reread what I really said. Better yet I will try to make it clearer for you . The corporate types made the secret ballot rule to prevent union organizing. It has nothing to do with the repubs watching out for workers rights, that is a ruse. The dems have changed the rule. In our democracy we vote by secret ballot to elect our representatives. The corporation is not a democracy. The secret ballot rule did not work for the union nor for those that wanted or needed a union. The corporations abused the rule. Therfore another method should be tried.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 6:29 PM
Comment #210506

Jack, so you know, Im not a union organizer, nor am I a member of a union.
I would think that what they are against is the abuse that was rampant due to the previous law and the ramifications of the previous law. Therefore, and Im sure they are just taking a leeson learned from business, and are attempting to streamline the process. It just levels the playing field.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2007 6:34 PM
Comment #210510

j2t2

We are all against intimidation and illegal activities.

The only abuse rampant in the existing law seems to be that unions are not winning elections. I do not consider this a problem. We do not need ot take sides. Unions are neither a good nor a bad thing in general. It depends if the employees want them or not. A secret ballot is the best way to find out.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 7:13 PM
Comment #210513

j2t2
You are stretching something here and its not your muscles. How can a corporation interfere with a secret ballot? Where is the misuse? Maybe the misuse is in the “corporation” known as organized labor. If it is a secret ballot who knows how each person voted? You keep bringing political parties into this in a partisian way. This is not a political parties issue. From your last post you claim that the corporations abused the secret ballot. I surely don’t know where you got that. But it appears you believe it to the point you want the cards stacked in a different direction.

A SECRET BALLOT IS THE BEST WAY!

Posted by: tomh at March 4, 2007 7:39 PM
Comment #210543

It is not the government’s business to tell unions (which are private organizations independent of the government) what they should or should not do. If the members of a union want to conduct a secret ballot so be it. If not, then that is their choice. There are plenty of organizations out there that do not use secret ballot, why do unions need to be any different? The purpose of the bill is to eliminate intimidation by the employer of the employees during the time between the signing of the cards and when the union is formed by eliminating the in between time. If a union wants to preserve the democratic process of secret ballots, they could still hold secrt ballot elections right after their creation. Right-wingers here are opposing this bill not because they care about workers, but because they wish to preserve the legacy of employer intimidation during the period in between the signing of the cards and the union’s cresation. Also I can’t imagine that there are that many workers who would not unionize if given the chance.

Posted by: Warren P at March 5, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #210547

“Right-wingers here are opposing this bill not because they care about workers, but because they wish to preserve the legacy of employer intimidation during the period in between the signing of the cards and the union’s cresation”

You have absolutely no idea why I oppose this bill.

Posted by: tomd at March 5, 2007 9:18 AM
Comment #210549

tomd
I’ll second that.

Why do the partisan pro-union people oppose a secret ballot? Who will be harmed? Who is to benefit?

The only excuse you give is employer intimidation. That is an excuse and undocumented. I will repeat, with a secret ballot nobody knows how one votes, period.

Posted by: tomh at March 5, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #210559

“Why do the partisan pro-union people oppose a secret ballot?”

I think it’s because the unions are dying and it’s a desparate attempt to gain membership as evident by their defense that it will make it easier to organize.

“Who will be harmed?”

The potential union member will be harmed by being exposed to not only company pressure (This bill does nothing to address pressure during the early days of attempting to organize.) but union pressure also.

“Who is to benefit?”

The union as an orginization will benefit by larger membership.
Union orginizers like Traveler above will benefit. The union can send them to more liberal schools.
Left wing politicians will benefit with more contributions in the future for introducing this bill.

“The only excuse you give is employer intimidation. That is an excuse and undocumented.”

If this were the real reason for the bill (And I don’t doubt that it happens sometimes.) there are better ways to stop intimidation than doing away with the secret ballot.

Posted by: tomd at March 5, 2007 10:39 AM
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