Is There Any Truth In What The Republicans And Their Media Mouthpieces Say About The Employee Free Choice Act?
It always surprises me when some self-professed dittohead or admitted O'Reilly fan wanders over to DWT and spews out some Republican Party talking points in the comments section. More often than not I just leave them up as entertainment (unless there's too much of that old fashioned GOP racism and bigotry). Well, since the GOP's top talking points these days are all about the Employee Free Choice Act, we figured we'd try to put together some of the antidotes to Limbaugh's and his congressional followers' lies about unions-- a kind of public service to wingnuts and people who have to put up with wingnut brothers-in-law.
First, in the way of context, let me point you to my friend Eric's blog in Missouri, where he's just posted a satirical look at union-busting.
Unite Here has been trying to organize its employees into a union. It's rough for the casino owners, because by last November 20th, almost eighty percent of the workers had signed cards saying they wanted a union. Whoa! At least, thank god, that damn card check silliness isn't law yet, so Lumiere had a solid three months to put off the election, which takes place today, the 27th. Knowing how much a union would hurt the workers--not to mention its own bottom line--the company has used every tool at its disposal to try to make its employees see sense.
Or to fire them if they wouldn't.
In case you don't have the time for satire or for links. Here's the short version: 80% of workers at the casino where the employees are trying to unionize are in favor of being represented by a union. It may be more than 80; but 80% have already said that that's what they want. Most of the 20% are too scared of the boss to say anything. But since 80% is still a pretty big number, the casino owner chose a "secret ballot" election. That gave him plenty of time-- all the time he needed-- to begin firing and suspending known union sympathizers. You see what Limbaugh and Hannity and DeMint and Coulter don't ever mention while they're shedding crocodile tears for "secret ballots," is that when union organizers ask people to sign a card supporting unionization, it's called intimidation, but when an employer fires someone because they support unionization, it's called preserving civil rights and the sanctity of elections.
And, as the anti-working family members of Congress full well know, even before passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, majority sign-up has been happening. More than 500,000 workers have joined unions in the last 5 years through majority signup. In more than 90% of cases where workers want to form a union immediately, they sign cards and try to get their boss to voluntarily recognize the union. More often than not, employees who want a union work hard to get around two-thirds of their co-workers to sign the cards before they submit the request to management. The ones who want a union sign and anyone who doesn't want a union doesn't sign. So what changes when the Employee Free Choice Act is signed by President Obama? At the point where most of the workers sign the cards, management has to recognize the union and start bargaining. That's why the right-wing is freaking out. They just hate unions; they do not care about secret ballots; they do care about working men and women bargaining collectively. It's the bane of their existence. Even the ones who have accepted they just cannot have slavery, are loathe to accept that they have to treat workers as equals. That's why we have a government to even out the playing field a little for the betterment of society as a whole, a concept that the right rejects entirely.
Media Matters has done a bang-up job in calling out the corporate media and Republican propaganda organizations for distorted reporting, like yesterday's lies from USAToday that the Employee Free Choice Act introduces sign up into the process for the first time. As we just explained above, "the suggestion that an NLRB secret ballot election is currently required before obtaining union representation at a workplace is false. Under current law, a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers can represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union."
What the Employee Free Choice Act will do-- and what completely infuriates rightists-- is to allow workers to form unions on the spot and without a long drawn out and costly organizing drive that gives them the opportunity-- an opportunity they make ample use of-- to threaten, harass and fire workers who want a union. Right now If 30% of workers at a worksite say they want a union, they can get a secret ballot election; that won't change after the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law. At that point, if 50% want a union, they can have the choice of majority signup or secret ballot. What the union-haters like DeMint, Bunning, Vitter, Coburn and that lot do understand is that in almost half the cases where workers ask for secret ballot elections they never get a chance to vote-- and that's exactly how these fake defenders of "the secret ballot" want it to remain.
The secret Big Business and their Republican allies don't want you to know: