Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Union Hating pt 2; Anti-Union Ad Links Blago and SEIU

Remember what I said about groups trying to connect the Blagojevich scandal to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)? If not, you can read it all here. Relevant paragraph here:

Why this is silly: the SEIU does not need an Illinois Senator appointed as a favor to Obama. Obama has stated that he supports worker legislation, most controversially (and importantly for the Unions) the Employee Free Choice Act. Maybe the SEIU should have simply said, Blago you're nuts, but instead the official said he or she would "put a flag up." Clearly the SEIU is humouring the Governor. Gov. Blagojevich was already under investigation, proved a bad administrator, and seemed generally incompetent. Who would have hired him? Certainly, not a well connected Union whose candidate is moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The critiques of the SEIU are dumb attacks based solely on the fact that the union's name now appears in the headlines in connection with the governor of Illinois.

Now a group has come out with an ad again trying to make a link:

Unions are NOT taking away the secret ballot, rather they are trying to give employees an option that was taken away. The relevant section of the bill is here:

(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).

To summarize if a majority of employees take the proactive step of signing a card saying they wish to be unionized then that can take place of an election. Why is this necessary? Because employers use the elections to significantly delay the unionization process by moving election dates, and using voter intimidation to "change the minds" of employees who are in favor or unionization. As the process stands, all the power is in the hand of employees. As George Miller of California stated:

The current process for forming unions is badly broken and so skewed in favor of those who oppose unions, that workers must literally risk their jobs in order to form a union. Although it is illegal, one quarter of employers facing an organizing drive have been found to fire at least one worker who supports a union. In fact, employees who are active union supporters have a one-in-five chance of being fired for legal union activities. Sadly, many employers resort to spying, threats, intimidation, harassment and other illegal activity in their campaigns to oppose unions. The penalty for illegal activity, including firing workers for engaging in protected activity, is so weak that it does little to deter law breakers.

Even when employers don't break the law, the process itself stacks the deck against union supporters. The employer has all the power; they control the information workers can receive, can force workers to attend anti-union meetings during work hours, can force workers to meet with supervisors who deliver anti-union messages, and can even imply that the business will close if the union wins. Union supporters' access to employees, on the other hand, is heavily restricted.

The Employee Free Choice Act would add some fairness to the system…

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