Friday, February 27, 2009

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:

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At 2:29 PM, Blogger OC Progressive said...

As Atrios might say in his series of simple answers.


At 8:56 AM, Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

I'm totally plagiarizing sections of this post for use in my blog and I'm not even going to admit you exist!

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Employee Free Choice Act Now .Org said...

The Employee Free Choice Act vs FEAR, Intimidation Corruption & Bribery by Employers : Is This What You Call a Fair Election?

The Employee Free Choice Act Does NOT Eliminate Secret Ballot Elections it Eliminates the EMPLOYERS opportunity to conduct an Anti-Union Campaign built on FEAR Intimidation Corruption and Bribery against its own employees.

So we elect our president using a secret ballot system. But imagine our presidential election if only one candidate was allowed access to voter lists, only one candidate was allowed to campaign with voters in the only instance where they are all together, and one of the candidates could fire you or take away hours or responsibility from you -- or offer you more money or more responsibility. What would the secret ballot reflect?

Welcome to the World of Union Organizing which I have lived for the past 30 years.

In understanding why the Employee Free Choice Act is so desperately needed to balance the playing field for workers we must first look at what really happens during critical period 42 days leading up to an election.

But first I should explain what the problem is and why we need the Employee Free Choice Act Now. The problem isn't the secret ballot voting like opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act would like you to believe -- a process that would still be available under EFCA, alongside mandatory recognition of a majority showing of interest; it's the process that leads up to the secret ballot.

A union can only trigger an election with a "showing of interest," meaning no less than 30 percent of a given workplace must sign an authorization petition or cards and file them with the NLRB.

The NLRB will then schedule an election -- after first a process of determining if the 30 percent threshold was met. The employer will often insist that certain workers shouldn't be included in the calculation, because, for example, they are technically management, or they work in different job classifications, etc.

The election will then take place within six weeks. In those six weeks, employers can "campaign" for the election during work hours and in coerced meetings -- oftentimes high pressure one-on-one meetings -- where they discourage not only a vote for the union ("It's a secret ballot!" you're thinking) but more importantly they discourage campaigning publicly for the union.

They suddenly drop the hammer on union activists, carefully scrutinizing them for the smallest mistake to find any grounds on which to fire them -- which would insulate them from accusations of retaliatory action.

During Union Busting Campaigns Employer FEAR and Intimidation Is Widespread

Some 82 percent of employers hire high-priced union-busting consultants, according to American Rights at Work. Further, when employers are faced with organizing campaigns:

30 percent fire pro-union workers.

49 percent threaten to close a work site when workers try to form a union, but only 2percent actually do.

51 percent coerce workers into opposing unions with bribery or favoritism.

91 percent force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors.

During the critical 42 day period leading up to a union election union organizers are NOT allowed access to the work site or the workers involved in the election. However MANAGEMENT IS and they TAKE FULL Advantage of it.

During this time an Employer will immediately begin a FEAR and Intimidation campaign against its workers. This would include half- truths, misinformation and outright lies. Mandatory meetings whereby employees must attend or be fired are conducted daily for hours at a time.

Is this what you call a Fair Election?

The Real Truth is that The Employee Free Choice Act has nothing to do with whether or not employees have a right to a secret ballot (which still will exist under The Employee Free Choice Act ) it is about the Employer losing its ability to run a Anti-Union campaign during the 42 day period leading up to a Secret ballot election. END OF STORY!

Under the Employee Free Choice Act if the majority of workers sign cards in support a union the NLRB would certify the union using a card check system. Under this system THE MAJORITY OF WORKERS DECIDE if they wish to unionize or not. Under the current system even if the majority of workers sign up for the union or even 100% of the workers wish to unionize an EMPLOYER can REFUSE to recognize a union and force an election, which now triggers a 42 day Anti-Union Campaign.

So under the Employee Free Choice Act the power shifts from the Employer to The Worker!.....That's The Secret Behind The Secret Ballot Election!

One of the Biggest LIES spread about the Employee Free Choice Act besides workers losing their right to a Secret Ballot is that if the Employee Free Choice Act is passed that it would lead to union intimidation in the card signing process.

With all the false and misleading negative propaganda by Corporate Front Groups like The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) have you ever heard them ever talk about union intimidation in signing union membership cards under the present system whereby unions must obtain at least 30 percent or more of a showing of interest to trigger an election? Absolutely NOT!


The argument by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act that if the Employee Free Choice Act should be passed that it would lead to Union Intimidation in signing membership cards is absolutely false and misleading. If this was the case EMPLOYERS would be filing unfair labor (ULP) charges at the National Labor Relations Board every time an election is filed.

I openly challenge The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) any Senator or Congressman or any Corporate Front Group who opposes the Employee Free Choice Act to present any ULP charges in conjunction with Unions Intimidating workers into signing membership cards over the last five years and I will be happy to present ULP charges filed by labor organizations for Employer Intimidation and Firings!

The only difference under the present system vs. the Employee Free Choice Act is that 51 percent of the workers seeking a union need to sign union membership cards to gain a majority status vs. 30 percent to trigger an election.

The thing about labor relations in the U.S. is that it's kind of a lawless Wild West, where might usually makes right. The laws are widely interpreted and poorly enforced; punishments rarely fit crimes. In some cases, labor has the might -- but in the vast majority of cases, it is management. And like any sphere where there are no laws, it is hard to understand unless you've experienced it firsthand for the last 30 years!

Written by Steve Maritas International Organizing Director for the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America SPFPA.


SPFPA Leads the way as one of the top 15 organizing unions in the world today according to BNA Elections Data & Statistics.

NLRB Elections Data & Statistics from BNA PLUS

BNA PLUS collects data from each of the 35 NLRB regional offices, including RC, RM, ... Professionals (SPFPA). 38. 23. 60.5%. 2241. Service Employees (SEIU)

For more information on Employer Intimidation and Union-Busting Tactics press Below

For More Information on EFCA please visit our websites and blog



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Tags: Employee Free Choice Act, Free Choice Act, EFCA, SPFPA, Steve Maritas, The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), Union Busting, Union Avoidance, Union Organizing, Labor Union, Union Busting Tactics Sphere: Related Content Posted by Employee Free Choice Act Now . Org at 5:33 PM

Labels: EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Free Choice Act, SPFPA, Steve Maritas, The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, Union Avoidance, Union Busting, Union Organizing


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