Happy Chanukah to you!
And yes, the reviews of “The Spirit” movie have been dismal, to my delight.
I’m sorry that your cruise didn’t live up to hype.
As for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), it’s important to understand that the Employee Free Choice Act won’t stop employees from having a secret ballot election. Under EFCA, if even a minority (30%) of employees prefer a secret ballot election, then that’s how it’ll go.
Under our current system, it’s effectively the employer who decides how unions are formed, card check or secret ballots. That choice should be up to workers, and that’s what EFCA would do.
Right now, employers routinely fire union organizers, force workers to sit through mandatory anti-union meetings, threaten to close down the workplace if a union is voted in, etc.. Imagine if Republicans got to do that in regular elections — we’d get to have a secret ballot, but first Republicans would get to remove citizenship from Democratic organizers, promise to shut down the government if Democrats win, have hours and hours of mandatory anti-Democrat propaganda that voters are compelled to attend (while Democrats wouldn’t have the right to respond or hold similar meetings), and so on.
I don’t think anyone would consider that fair or democratic. But that’s pretty much how union elections work.
The EFCA would let employees avoid that if they want to. Instead, if over half the workers want to unionize, employers have to recognize that. But if employees want to do a traditional election — or if, after the union is put in place, they want to vote the union out — they can still do so. EFCA just gives the employees that choice — and gives employees a way to avoid the abusive and unfair practices that US employers are using to fight unions.
The problem we are facing is unfair tactics and intimidation by employers. I can understand being concerned about the prospect of union intimidation, but that doesn’t seem to be an actual problem we’re facing in the real world. Quoting Jonathan Zasloff:
For 50 years, from the 40′s to the 90′s. the province of Ontario had a card-check organizing system, until a right-wing government killed it. (Labour law goes province-by-province in Canada). So what was the record there?
I used advanced research techniques unknown to many reporters, and called up Harry Arthurs of York University, Canada’s pre-eminent labour law scholar. Arthurs literally wrote the book on this stuff. And I asked him: what does the evidence show?
Arthurs answered that in all of his research about labour law complaints under card check, he could not find a single case where the employer complained of a union intimidating workers to unionize when they didn’t want to.
That’s right: zero. Zilch. Nada. Efes. Rien.
Arthurs did find two cases complaining of union intimidation in the card check process: but they were both in cases where two unions were competing against one another, i.e. both the Teamsters and SEIU were trying to organize a particular plant. That’s it.
This isn’t some obscure jurisdiction. It’s Ontario, the largest and richest province in the country. 50 years. A half a century. Zero.
If you think about it for a moment, it becomes clearer why this is so. Employers will have their ears to the ground to find out about such things, and if they have a credible claim, they will be able to call for a secret ballot decertification election. And the workers who are intimidated will take their revenge then. It’s just not in the union’s interest to do it.
I guess I’ll be seeing you in just a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to it. Take care!