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View Diary: On the introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act (72 comments)

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  •  I'm sorry your questions weren't answered (2+ / 0-)
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    Linnaeus, CS in AZ

    As you can see, some of the answers are pretty involved.  The Board process is pretty complicated, and employers over the years have developed lots and lots of ways to game the system to slow down the process and frustrate workers who want to organize.  A simple question like, "How does it work now?" can actually demand a pretty complex answer.

    As for your personal work situation, it's great that your opinion is sought and respected and that you and your supervisors trust each other.  I'd guess that you realize that it's not that way everywhere.  Organizing a union takes a lot of work, and no one in the real world does it for trivial or ideological reasons.  By the time workers start to talk amongst themselves about it, and certainly by the time they get in touch with a few unions to discuss their situation, they've got to have some really strong reasons for spending as much time and energy as it takes, and for risking their livelihoods.  It could have to do with unfair discipline/favoritism, or pay, or health insurance, or a change to the pension, or safety issues, or some combination of them.  But no one does this without having a really strong motivation to do it.

    I would say, though, that some of your interests are not exclusive to you -- you and your coworkers are all interested in your health insurance coverage, and maybe in the agency's policy about posting job openings.  And to the extent that you and your coworkers are in the same boat together, it's not a bad thing if you guys get together to discuss your shared interests and figure out if you have any consensus positions you'd like to bring to your supervisors.  And if you do that, your acting as a union, and, in fact, exercising legal rights that you have as employees under the Nation Labor Relations Act.

    I'm certainly not saying, "CS in AZ needs to talk with his/her coworkers about this stuff ASAP!!"  I'm saying that you should be absolutely free to do so.  But in far too many workplaces, people don't have that freedom.  Lots of workplaces even have rules forbidding employees to discuss their salaries with each other (a rule that's illegal under the National Labor Relations Act, but since the penalty for breaking the law is that the boss needs to post a notice at work saying, "We broke the law.  Sorry.  Won't happen again.", there's not much incentive to shape up).

    Last comment here, on people expecting automatic acceptance.  Yes, folks need to make a case, I agree.  But (a) people who aren't familiar with the specifics should probably ask/read/do research before making absolutist statements about voting procedures, and (b) if the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce, every industry group, and the GOP are on one side of an issue, and Labor, human rights groups, and the vast majority of Democrats supports it...then you should probably be favorably inclined towards supporting it.

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

    by Pesto on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 07:41:00 PM PDT

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