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View Diary: Card Check is More Democratic than NLRB Elections (214 comments)

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  •  How about the other TWO provisions of the new act (10+ / 0-)

    If you are excited about this post, you should google "The Employment Free Choice Act" and read the real meat of the act. It's the time line for an agreement and the fines for intimidation that give it teeth. These are, basically, parts two and three of the act.
    I am a union electrician and I know Union America works for Americans.

    •  Those elements of EFCA (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, PaulVA, kyril

      are the place where Blue Dog types are almost certainly planning to force through a compromise -- keep the treble damages, keep the interest arbitration for first contracts, keep the new language on injunctions, but toss card-check.

      My guess is that someone like Specter and the Blue Dog Dems are going to aim for that and then, if pressed, sweeten the pot with striker protection, and possibly language broadening the definition of "employee" (reversing the Kentucky River and Yeshiva decisions, for instance).

      The Chamber of Commerce and NAM are going to fight as hard as they can over this -- if this were a contract negotiation, they would definitely take a strike over the issue.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:50:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think parts 2 and 3 are scarier for NAM (8+ / 0-)

        If the business lobby is going to push anywhere, it's going to be on making sure that there's no 90 day timeline to reach a contract, and then if no contract is reached it goes to binding arbitration on outstanding issues where the arbitrator essentially writes the contract.  For businesses, this is the real concern over EFCA because it's when there's a contract in place that they get "stuck" with the union forever.  Card check will be an annoyance for them, but if it were just that, businesses could just stall negotiations for a year and then push sympathetic employees to seek a decertification.  Any organizer will tell you that no organizing campaign is truly successful, and employees aren't truly protected by a contract, until that first collective bargaining agreement is signed.  

        So mandatory arbitration to reach a first contract is scary to business, and treble damages are also a bigger concern for them than card check.  Now, if a business wants to make an example and fire someone who is organizing or engaging in union-related activities, they can do so with little risk.  At best, that person, if they win their case, will come back to work two years later (maybe) with nothing more than back pay for the time they were off, minus any money they made during the two years they weren't working, and they're required to try to mitigate their damages in this manner (seeking other work).  Who has the bankroll to do this?  It sends a distinct message to the rest of the workforce when a company plays hardball with someone like this.  

        With treble damages, it not only triples the monetary risk for the employer, but gives some financial incentive/windfall for the employee who is unjustly harmed, making this a much less desireable intimidation strategy for business.  

        •  90 days is an arbitrary number (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joe Bob, kyril, Arnold Panz

          I have no idea why they picked 90 days -- if the Chamber of Commerce put 6 or 9 months on the table, Labor would sign off on that in a heartbeat.  The real deadline is the 1-year certification.  The principle is the guaranteed contract.

          Arbitration was originally the boss's idea -- a way to settle disagreements without interrupting production (same thing with grievance and arbitration procedures -- much more convenient for the boss than a strike every time he fires someone!).  So I think they could live with some kind of arbitration provision.  Do you know whether interest arbitration led to a slew of UFW organizing in California?

          Everyone on both sides knows that Labor has shrunk down (as a percentage of the private-sector workforce) to about as small a rump as it can while maintaining some kind of viability.  And Labor can't organize fast enough through the Board process to grow at a significant rate.  If I were on the boss's side, I'd draw a line in the sand at card-check and figure that time was on my side, even with interest arbitration and treble damages.

          "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

          by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:10:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, kyril

          And, assuming that things don't go our way in AK, MN, and GA, the price of flipping a Republican senator or two will be a re-write of the timeframe and arbitration provisions.

          •  only need two more pickups (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP, kyril

            Specter voted for cloture in 2007. With Alaska looking good, it looks to me like we need only one of either MN or GA. Assuming, of course, that the pro-EFCA coalition holds.

            •  Assuming the coalition holds... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pesto, sable, kyril

              Remember:  Senate Dems could vote for EFCA with impunity the last time around because they knew it would be vetoed.

              Bingaman (D-NM)
              Conrad (D-ND)
              Dorgan (D-ND)
              Lincoln (D-AR)
              Nelson (D-NE)
              Salazar (D-CO)

              I'm also not particularly bullish on Franken or Martin.  (I hope you're right.)

              •  EFCA wasn't the Chamber's biggest target in 06 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sable, kyril

                They knew they could filibuster, and that Bush would veto anything that somehow made its way through.  They were much more concerned about passing Immigration Reform, which had bipartisan support and would have been signed by Bush.

                This time around, no free passes.  They are going to live in the offices of the Senators you listed there.  Unless American workers can scare those folks more than the Chamber, we're not getting card-check.

                "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

                by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:59:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  60 is overrated (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril

                There's a huge difference between voting against legislation that you don't support and not allowing it to go forward to a vote.  Aside from the fact that these guys (and women) aren't in a herd that Reid (or Obama) can pull along at will, you only need 60 who will allow for cloture so that the bill can be voted on.  Even if Dorgan, for example, doesn't vote for EFCA in the end, it's highly unlikely that a good Democratic soldier wouldn't allow the bill to go up for a vote.  When you're in the minority, you use the hammer of "60 votes" to prevent bills you all uniformly don't like.  Here, we know of at least a couple (e.g., Specter) of Reps who showed support for EFCA last time, so there's no reason to think they, too, wouldn't vote for cloture.  

                60 is a magic number created by the press and the fundraisers at the DSCC (not that that's a bad thing), but the reality of Senate life is that a 60 vote majority is really not much different than a 58 or 59 seat majority, or a 61 or 62 seat majority, for that matter.  

              •  For cloture, against the bill? (0+ / 0-)

                The coalition only needs to hold for the cloture vote. If it goes to a vote, all of these Dems could vote against it and it would still pass easily.

                I highly doubt that it would get more than 55 or so votes (at the most) in favor of final passage, but the key is to hold the Dem caucus together on cloture, with the understanding that some of them will be allowed to vote against final passage.

        •  Arbitrator writing the contract (0+ / 0-)

          It's the part about the arbitrator writing the contract that seems most "radical" to me, but I have to admit I'm not familiar with the way NLRB elections work under current law.

          Can somebody help educate those of us who are new to the issue?  Is an arbitrator writing the contract, and binding both workers and employers to a year's worth of provisions neither one may have wanted, a realistic possibility?  To me, that doesn't sound like something either management or labor would want.  Or am I misinformed?

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