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As we all know, this November brings major opportunities for Senate pick-ups. And if we get enough Democrats in the Senate, there's a lot of legislation we might be able to get passed that seemed like pipe dreams just two years ago. That's precisely one of the reasons some business groups will be fighting tooth and nail to prevent Democrats from picking up Senate seats.

The Employee Free Choice Act is one of the most important such bills -- and practically every competitive Senate race is being targeted by anti-union groups with millions of dollars in funding from undisclosed sources:

The two groups, which will not disclose the sources of money behind their campaigns, may spend as much as a combined $50 million by November. The extent of the media effort has sent Democrats scrambling for ways to respond to what they call misleading advertisements without getting thrown off their own message. Party leaders are also sharply critical of the secrecy behind the spending.

"The fact that these expenditures are not only so large but are undisclosed is extremely troubling," said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who said the groups "are trying to influence the elections with millions of dollars that the public can’t trace."

These groups (which I've previously written about here) have already gone on the air with millions of dollars in ads against candidates whose names will be familiar to you: Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Allen, Al Franken, Mary Landrieu, Jeff Merkley, Mark Udall, Bruce Lunsford, Ronnie Musgrove.

In fact, to prevent this bill, Wal-Mart has already engaged in the kind of abuses that it is designed to prevent. At the beginning of the month, the Wall Street Journal reported that:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.
The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don't specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union,'" said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. "I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote," she said.

The AFL-CIO, Change to Win, American Rights at Work, and WakeUpWalMart subsequently filed an FEC complaint arguing that Wal-Mart's actions constituted illegal electioneering. But whatever the ruling from the FEC, there's no question that by going this close to the line of legality, Wal-Mart showed just how terrified they are of the Employee Free Choice Act.

So what's the fuss about? The main components of the Employee Free Choice Act include requiring certification of a union once a majority of employees in a workplace have signed up for the union. As laws are currently enforced, after a majority of employees have requested a union, employers can force an election.  This may sound democratic enough, but in fact it allows employers to use their power over workers to campaign against the union, often harassing and firing union supporters in the process. As labor scholar Gordon Lafer writes:

For an election to be "free and fair," both sides must have equal access to media and the voters. But not under labor law. Anti-union managers are free to campaign to every employee, every day, throughout the day; but pro-union employees can campaign only on break time.  Furthermore, management can post anti-union propaganda on bulletin boards and walls — while prohibiting pro-union employees from doing the same.  By law, employers can force workers to attend mass anti-union propaganda events.  Not only are pro-union employees not given equal time, but they can be forced to attend on condition that they not ask any questions.  Recent data show that workers are forced to attend between five and 10 such one-sided meetings. If, during the 2004 presidential campaign, the Democrats could have forced every voter in America to watch Fahrenheit 9/11 (or if the Republicans could have forced everyone to watch the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth video), with no opportunity for response from the other side, none of us would have called this "democracy."

To put this in further context, under the system we have now 30% of employers illegally fire workers during union organization drives; 23% of workers in majority sign-up elections, the kind the EFCA would allow, "report management coercion to oppose the union"; and 46% report similar coercion in what Wal-Mart and their allies would like you to call "secret ballot" elections.

The bill also prevents employers from dragging out negotiations on a first union contract by creating provisions for mediation and arbitration, and strengthens penalties on employers who fire union supporters. Such firings are illegal, but the current penalties are too small to serve as effective deterrents -- if a fired worker wins their complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, a process that may take years, they are awarded the difference between what they ultimately earned in that time period and what they would have earned had they not been fired. That means that someone who is illegally fired and goes out and gets an equivalent job may get almost no money. There is therefore very little disincentive for employers to illegally fire union-supporting workers.

That the Employee Free Choice Act will afford workers greater freedom to join unions would doubtless be reason enough for Wal-Mart and other anti-worker corporations to oppose it. And it should be reason enough for us to support it. But if, despite being a Daily Kos reader, you're not a big fan of unions (and if that's the case, shame on you), I'll refer you to Trapper John's appeal to your baser interests:

I'm writing today for those breeds of Democrats who -- for whatever reason -- just don't care that much, or at least that passionately, about labor.  I'm writing for folks like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln -- two good Democratic senators who have yet to commit to voting for EFCA.  I don't want to appeal to your better angels and try to convince you that EFCA is a civil rights bill, or that its passage is a moral imperative. No -- my message is simple, and is an appeal to your baser instincts: Passing EFCA will get more Democrats elected.

That's right.  Put aside, for the moment, the many, many reasons that passing EFCA makes sense from a policy perspective.  EFCA is a political winner for Democrats.  Why?  Because EFCA will increase the number of union members in the US -- and union members (and, for that matter, non-members living in union households) are more likely to vote Democratic than non-members.

We have no way of knowing whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the "Employee Freedom Action Committee," and other corporatists are more opposed to Democrats because they would pass the Employee Free Choice Act, producing more union members, or are more opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act because it would produce more Democrats. Whichever it is, we have to be prepared to counter their tens of millions of dollars of advertising and their employee intimidation aimed at defeating Democrats this November.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is very important (37+ / 0-)

    DkMich and I had a short disagreement yesterday about whether or not the MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) has become complicit with those that wish to undo worker protections in favor of corporate profit.

    I work in a conservative environment.  I hear the hand wringing and plotting every single day about Michigan becoming a "right to work" state.

    We are entering a critical time in organized labor.  People need to pay attention.

    •  A few years ago... (26+ / 0-)

      ...I was part of a union drive.  It was a nightmare.  If we'd just been able to do the card collection approach that the Free Choice act uses, we'd have probably succeeded.  As things stood, however, the administration was able to launch an anti-union campaign that cost state taxpayers thousands of dollars and pretty much crush us completely.

      Birding in New England: advocacy for birds and birders.

      by juliewolf on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:13:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being the member of a union should be a Right (6+ / 0-)

        and not a privilege for a lucky few who beat the odds and brought in a union against all the employer intimidation and propagandizing. A whole Union Avoidance Industry has grown up around manipulating workers to vote against unions that I detail in my diary: Thoughts on the upcoming Strike and the Union Avoidance Industry

        Ten days from now my union brothers and sisters will vote whether to go on strike or to accept our employer's contract offer. The ability to cast this crucial vote has profoundly changed our members standard of living for the better.

        All American workers should have the right to make a vote similar to the one I will make in 10 days to better their own lives.

        Also take a look at my diary from yesterday on John McCain's vote last year to repeal the Federal Minimum Wage: The Working Poor aren't poor enough for John McCain

        I'm reposting this because It was hidden with a wingnut comment.

        It's time to restore balance and fairness to our economy,... It's time to stop giving tax cuts to corporations that ship jobs overseas... - Barack Obama

        by Lefty Coaster on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 09:06:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  organized labor is losing and sooon it will be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seabos84, alkalinesky, banjolele

      like the dinosaurs  extinct

      •  The unions (12+ / 0-)

        need to re-brand themselves as smarter, more efficient, more dedicated.

        They're letting conservatives control the narrative by saying nothing in an ad.

      •  Labor and the Dems are inextricably linked (23+ / 0-)

        The one period of true Dem dominance (mid-30s to mid-70s) was the one period where labor had real power.  Labor's decline starting in the late 70s and the decline of the Dems went virtually hand in hand.

        The death of a proposed labor law reform bill in a Senate filibuster in 1978 was a signal moment for both sides.  It (along w/ the passage of Prop 13 and the first NCPAC smear campaigns) was a precursor of what was to come in the ensuing decade.

        It's a very good thing that the fortunes of labor and the Dems are being tied together on this issue.  Now that I think about it, it's an even better thing that we have the first Dem ticket in ages w/ 2 candidates w/ long-established union ties.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:29:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Filibuster is the right word (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RFK Lives, buckhorn okie

          I'm pessimistic about EFCA. It will pass the House and a President Obama would sign it. But I would be astonished to see it pass the Senate. The EFCA would be the end of the GOP, and so the Dems will not be able to peel a single member of the GOP Senate caucus on a cloture vote.

          I think this legislation is absolutely awesome and I would love it if someone could spell out a path through the Senate. Any takers?

          •  The new Senate can create new rules, if they so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            desire.  Sixty doesn't have to be the number to overide a fillibuster, it could be 55.  Also, if we could get a fighting dem in charge of the senate, it should not be impossible to get 60 votes.  With all three branches controlled by one party, all kinds of legal pressure can be brought to bear.

          •  Son of a Bitch (2+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            hippykicker, oaktownadam
            Hidden by:

            I posted a comment this morning on this subject and it's gone - we delete comments we don't like now here at DKOS?

            I have a Merit Shop - and I'll support the EFCA if and only if the legislation (I've told my Senator this face to face) the same card check works if your employees want to leave the union. The Union, according to the Department of Labor has the worst record on wage and hour violations.

            This is a democracy last time I checked...and if want the EFCA then is should also include the right to de-unionize...otherwise you've given the Unions the upper and hand and damn near a monopoly. This is a change for checks and balances...not just one sided legislation.l

            In this election, the economy has no color

            by Arkydem on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:53:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  your comment was deleted because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Special K

              The Union, according to the Department of Labor has the worst record on wage and hour violations.

              you are posting inflamatory nonsense. Back up your claims, and maybe you wont get hide-rated. In the meantime, here's another donut for ya...

            •  Your comment was not removed (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Special K, rockhound, unionsally

               it is still there, but was hidden.

               Merit shop is an Orwellian phrase that implies union shops are full of workers who somehow lack merit, or are lazy. Try "non union shop" instead. It is much more descriptive.

               Unionized workers can indeed already call for a decertification election if they so desire. It's the law. So quit harping about that.

               The present election process is a sham. Even if the union is certified as the bargaining agent for the employees, the employer has no incentive to bargain--at all! The election means nothing. The entire process is heavily slanted in favor of employers who can drag the process out, fire union organizers with impunity, hire unionbusting law firms to intimidate workers, and then ignore the results of the election.

               Does that sound like a fair process to you?

               The right to belong to a union is just that--a right. It is not a contest between employees and their employer.

               Why are you afraid of unions? Union workers are better trained. Union shops have less turnover, so their more--experienced workers are more productive. A worker with better job security and compensation, both hallmarks of unionization, is more likely to feel he has a stake in the company. If you own a business, I'm sure you know that such a person is going to generate more profit for your company.

               Lighten up, and stick around. I'm sure you'll learn something here.

              What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

              by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:14:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm from a union family (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                my old man's job is what fed the family. This was 40 years ago -

                Now - here's a lesson for those that might be open minded enough to look at the other side.

                Suppose my employees decide they want a union - most small to medium shops don't have the resources to hire some union busting high dollar attorney.

                Here's your options; agree to the union and face the real prospect of losing your business - I know, you're gonna disagree. Well here's the real deal. You bid work - you bid work on the cost of materials and labor. Now you've been unionized and your labor costs go up, say 28%. Your competitor - the guy you been battling for years over pennies per sq. ft. - we'll he's not quite big enough for the union organizers to go after.

                You go head to head with this guy the next day...and guess who wins the bid - the lowest bidder - my competitor. I can't do jack doo doo about it. This happens for a year maybe two, my business drys up - I go deeper into debt trying to hang on - I lay off folks - it's a right to work state - and all the time, my competitors gets bigger and bigger - the union catches up with him - and his competitor becomes the beneficiary of my competitor being unionized. I've seen this too may times - there isn't a business in my industry that can survive and absorb an increase in costs when his competitors don't have to play in the same ballpark.

                The other option - when you know that you're going to be unionized. Shut her down - form a new corporation (happens all the time).

                And here in MHO is the dirty little secret in my industy (construction). It's not the General Contractor, the Subcontractors or anybody who actually is building the project - it's the OWNERS who decide if the job will be a union or non-union job. The unions have made the contractors the big bad wolves, when in fact it's the owners - everytime I hear the the union is picketing a job site - I laugh - the Owners have successfully used the contractors as their shield - and they'll take the lowest price, regardless of the ethics or whose doing the work - they want the most for the least -and that's not the union, ya want to picket, picket the parent company that's building the building.

                That my friend is why many of my fellow brethren fear the union - I don't - they do - and until the playing field is the same - they got a right to fear it.

                You can aruge with me and give me a million reasons to tell me that I'm dead wrong, that these aren't the real facts. We'll, it's the facts on the ground and the fear is real for these business's owners who have put  their lives and hearts into their businesses.

                If these are not the facts, well then the unions have done a damn poor job of letting the business community know what the feature/benefits of having a union are and for damn sure the owners and end consumers need an education.

                In this election, the economy has no color

                by Arkydem on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:10:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  And so will go the America we've all grown up in. (16+ / 0-)

        Sorry but face the facts - without organized labor, this country has no middle class nor does it defeat Facism or Communism.

    •  Shifting the advantage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      From what I've read this morning here on Kos, which is everything I have read about the Employee Free Choice Act, it looks to me that the proposed legislation is not about fairness in the union certification process, it is about shifting the advantage to labor organizations.

      If, for example, the problem is "Anti-union managers are free to campaign to every employee, every day, throughout the day; but pro-union employees can campaign only on break time," a fairness-based solution might be to prohibit anti-union managers from campaigning throughout the work day.

      Or, if "management can post anti-union propaganda on bulletin boards and walls — while prohibiting pro-union employees from doing the same," then the law might be changed either to prohibit anti-union propaganda on bulletin boards and walls, or to allow pro-union propaganda in an equal amount and location.

      Or, if the problem is that "employers can force workers to attend mass anti-union propaganda events[but]pro-union employees [are] not given equal time," then union organizers could be given equal time by law.

      There is a huge disconnect between these specific given example of unfairness during the election campaign process and the proposed solution, which is to eliminate the election campaign process altogether rather than to fix it.

      If the present process is unfair, and it does look to be that way from what little I know, then the Employee Free Choice Act seems equally unfair, but on the opposite side.  This does nothing to eliminate unfairness.  It is simply a re-allocation of power by means of a political/legislative agenda.

      Does me being "pro-fairness" mean that I am thereby being "anti-labor"?

      Tom Fox
      Louisville, Kentucky

      •  Better read the bill (13+ / 0-)

        There is a huge disconnect between these specific given example of unfairness during the election campaign process and the proposed solution, which is to eliminate the election campaign process altogether rather than to fix it.

        The bill does nothing of the sort. If both sides want an NLRB election, then one takes place.

        Quit looking for "fairness" and a "level playing field" when there isn't any to begin with.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly, there is no level playing field here (7+ / 0-)

          And many employers want to keep it that way!

          We all have free choice to work at companies with unions or not. That is the end of our free choice.

          The employers have much more power at non-union shops. What is democratic about that?

          01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

          by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:38:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What does democracy have to do with it? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            "The employers have much more power at non-union shops. What is democratic about that?" - - - - - - -

            "Democracy is a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and exercised directly by citizens."

            - Wikipedia


            There are many civil or government institutions that are not the least bit democratic.  The military is a prime example, yet nobody is seen to complain that the military is not run like a democracy.

            Therefore, "democracy" simply cannot be touted as the ultimate value in every circumstance. How much democracy is appropriate for labor-management relations is the question, and to simply shout "democracy" is not the answer.

            Besides, eliminating mandatory elections as a means to promote democracy is one of the lamest sound bytes I can imagine.  This turkey don't fly.

            I think of myself as being pro-worker, but extremely dubious of unions.  "Pro-union" and "pro-worker" are not necessarily the same thing.

            Tom Fox
            Louisville, Kentucky

            •  Have you read the legislation? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buckhorn okie, Special K, sea note

              No? I didn't think so. Why don't you do that before commenting? If you read it, you'll see that it doesn't eliminate workers' right to have an election if they choose to.

            •  Yeah, right, you're "pro worker" (12+ / 0-)

              I think of myself as being pro-worker, but extremely dubious of unions.  "Pro-union" and "pro-worker" are not necessarily the same thing.

              Guess what, pal? That's for the employees in any particular workplace to determine, not you.

              The workers are the union, and the union is the workers. Do not come in here and insult our intelligence by pretending that it is otherwise.

              I worked as a union representative and before that I was a rank and file union member. No union rep who wants to remain employed forces anything on members who don't want it.

              When union reps and local officers act irresponsibly (and they do at times; everybody's shit stinks), many times it is because the rank and file employees are not holding them accountable. A union is like a government in that respect.

              Employers go wrong when they value control over results. Bean counters and union-busting law firms sell employers the bill of goods that they can mnake more money, or save more money, by busting the union or practicing "union avoidance."

              Employers who treat their workforce as an asset rather than a cost prosper along with their employees and their unions.

              Quit repeating the lie that the EFCA will eliminate elections. It won't, and I'm not letting you get away with it here.

              "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

              by Ivan on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 09:12:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Doesn't eliminate the election, but comes close (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The argument that the EFCA doesn't eliminate elections is correct - elections can still take place if a union is able to show 30% cards but not yet 50%. The issue is that no union with any sense of how things work will want an election. If you can have an election with 30% of the cards signed, but you get automatic recognition with 50% (+1) of the employees signing cards, why would you ever go for an election? Elections are a losing way ot organize. The EFCA doesn't eliminate elections by the letter of the law, but it certainly does in spirit.  

            •  First of all, I am not suggesting it be a total (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Special K, happy camper

              democracy, I just responded to another poster.

              I too am not a blind supporter of democracy. As that is the argument of the right wing in trying to discriminate against gays. Mob rule is not what I think is appropriate at all times.

              That said, I disagree that pro-union and pro-worker do not go together. Unions, like anything else in the world are not perfect, but they damn well are pro-worker.

              And employers most certainly have all the power, despite depending on workers to make their money.

              A pure democracy is not what is needed, but some balance in power sure the hell is.

              01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

              by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:13:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Talk to MissLaura (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I wrote "There is a huge disconnect between these specific given example of unfairness during the election campaign process and the proposed solution, which is to eliminate the election campaign process altogether rather than to fix it."

          Ivan "The bill does nothing of the sort. If both sides want an NLRB election, then one takes place."

          MissLaura first wrote: "The main components of the Employee Free Choice Act include requiring certification of a union once a majority of employees in a workplace have signed up for the union. As laws are currently enforced, after a majority of employees have requested a union, employers can force an election."


          In other words, don't be ridiculous.  

          Under current law I think it fair to say that there is always an election.  Employers have no reason to not demand it, as the law permits them to do.

          Under the proposed legislation there would never be an election unless the union agreed to it.  In this case it is fair to say there never would be an election.  Why would the ever agree to one?

          Therefore, the proposed legislation eliminates elections, and you can't pretend it doesn't.

          I'm simply telling you that more than a few people around town see this as being the same old shuck and jive(SOSAJ).


          Tom Fox
          Louisville, Kentucky

          •  Are you really this dense? (0+ / 0-)


            Read point #8. And then you can apologize for being an ass.

          •  The NLRB election process (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K, unionsally, oaktownadam

             is a sham. It has been twisted into a way for employers to prevent workers from organizing.

             The National Labor Relations Act was originally passed as a way to encourage union organizing. Card check is a way to circumvent that now--corrupt process and allow workers to vote for the union without their employer threatening them if they do so.

             This is the only industrial democracy that allows corporations to run roughshod over unions and workers who want to join one. The playing field needs to be leveled, and EFCA does that.


            What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

            by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:48:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  card check is a sham (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              By allowing union organizers to know who has voted against them, or not voted at all, they can apply considerable pressure on those people.

              Hooray, we're replacing the tyranny of the employer with the tyranny of the union!

              •  Your fantasy of thuggish (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Special K

                 union bosses is a right wing construct with little basis in reality. What leverage would an organizer have to pressure anyone?

                 The union works for the membership. If the members don't like their representatives they vote them out. Organizers have nothing to use to intimidate anyone.

                What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:05:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  then why don't we do card-check elections (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Justanothernyer, DRKos

                  for government?

                  Secret ballots are a cornerstone of a free, functioning democracy.

                  Organizers have plenty of tools to coerce employees. What do you think would happen if an organizer were to tell pro-union employees "We know you'd like to have a union, but Joe Bob disagrees. He's preventing you from getting all of the benefits that our union would provide."

                  I think life at work for Joe Bob would suddenly become a lot less pleasant, due to his perceived intransigence. Peer pressure can be very intense!

                  •  You really are dense (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Special K

                     Union organizers don't coerce. They don't need to. Half the people in this country would join a union idf they had the chance. They convince people through showing them the facts.

                     Peer pressure. You think work is like high school? The pressure exerted by the boss--vote for the union and you lose your job--is a hell of a lot more serious than arguing with a co-worker about organizing.

                    What do you think would happen if an organizer were to tell pro-union employees "We know you'd like to have a union, but Joe Bob disagrees. He's preventing you from getting all of the benefits that our union would provide.

                    Joe Bob's buddies would try their best to convince him to vote for the union. If anybody was too rude, Joe Bob would likely tell them to fuck off. Then he wouldn't vote for the union.

                     You seem to have some funny ideas about what goes on in a blue collar workplace. Ever been in one?

                    What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                    by happy camper on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 05:25:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  so? (0+ / 0-)

                      Nothing you've said obviates the need for secret elections. Arguing over which intimidation is worse is beside the point. The point of secret ballots is to eliminate intimidation from both sides.

                      As was pointed out in other comments, the AFL-CIO freely admits that many people will sign cards simply to get the organizer to stop harassing them. Unless they can get at least 75% of the workplace to sign the cards, the AFL-CIO doubts they can break 50% in a secret election.

                      And you didn't answer my question...if peer pressure is so benign, why don't we use it for government elections? Seems like it would solve lots of problems, not needing all of those punchcards or touchscreen voting booths. Just send out the organizers to collect signatures!

                      Oh, wait, every time a banana republic tries that, we (rightly!) denounce it as a sham election.

          •  If 51% have signed up .... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K

            then they have already voted. QED

            We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

            by twigg on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:16:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not true at all. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Even the AFL-CIO itself has directly stated multiple times in the past that people often sign pledge cards to get the pro-union activists "off their backs" and that "It is not until the union obtains signatures from 75% or more of the unit that the union has more than a 50% likelihood of winning the election."

              The only way that you could even remotely argue that automatically unionizing as soon as more than 50% of the employees sign pro-union pledge cards is legitimate is if you're equally willing to let workers de-unionize as soon as more than 50% of the employees sign anti-union pledge cards.

              I'd be fully in favor of forcing reasonably short time-frames for the secret election to be held once the 50% mark is reached, but the only reason for removing the secret election itself is to open up workers to pro-union intimidation.

              •  Pro Union intimidation (0+ / 0-)

                Is the scourge of the workplace in all the Right To Work States  /snark

                Quite frankly, concern trolling about possible "intimidation", when employers have been intimidating for years to the point where they can even fire a worker for smoking at home, is a bit rich.

                I can argue that even when 25% of the workforce have signed a pledge, or joined, then that Union should be recognised, by law, to represent the views of those who have signed.

                Why should the bar be set so high? Why can't we have compulsory recognition of a Union at quite a low level, then, when membership increases, force employers to actively promote union membership to employees (there are benefits all round), and steer clear of "Closed Shops".

                The reason for removing the secret election is simply that it is nothing of the sort. It is a tool used by employers to delay and intimidate. It is an opportunity to force employees to attend propoganda sessions where the Union reps are given no opportunity to respond, and the entire exercise is one designed to achieve a NO vote.

                Union intimidation is a Right Wing Talking Point. If intimidation is going to be discussed, then let it be .... the Unions will bear some guilt, but it will be lost compared to the employers, who have crafted intimidation into an art.

                Whatever the rights and wrongs of this argument, the simple fact is that American workers, in many States, have zero protections. That is just wrong, and the blame does not rest with the Unions

                We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

                by twigg on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 07:50:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I live in the real world (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K, unionsally

            and I have real world organizing and bargaining experience. If you can make a statement like this,

            Under current law I think it fair to say that there is always an election.  Employers have no reason to not demand it, as the law permits them to do.

            presumably with a straight face, in a forum full of people with first hand experience at this, then either you just don't know what you are talking about, or are willfully ignorant, or are spreading disinformation.

            Employers might have all kinds of reasons to block an election, and I have seen them all. Mostly they block elections if they conclude that the union has the necessary support to win.

            Conversely, under the EFCA, a union could agree to an election if it thought the outcome would be favorable.

            I'm not the one being ridiculous here. The EFCA allows for multiple options, and both the employer and the union would have plenty of ways to game the system for their potential advantage, many more than they have now.

            Automatic (it's NOT necessarily mandatory, and quit spreading that lie) card check is not a slam dunk for the union. Once it passes (and it WILL pass, boyo; don't you forget it), employer lawyers will be hard at work devising new wrinkles to implement under the EFCA.

            Unions still will have to do the scut work of organizing, and still will have employer propaganda, captive meetings, and a myriad of time-honored unfair labor practices to deal with. So please don't whine around here about the poor beleaguered corps.

            Their chickens are coming home to roost, and none too soon.

            "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

            by Ivan on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:13:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Try to keep up..... (11+ / 0-)

        if a majority of workers indicate they WANT to be in a union by signing a membership card, then under this legislation, they will be recognized as a union. Alternatively, they can choose to have an election. Employers will face larger, more signifant penalties for breaking labor laws (which are not enforced now), and the WORKERS, not the EMPLOYER will determine whether there is a union in the workplace.

        And yes, based on your comment, you are anti-worker.

      •  First Time? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Special K

        Huh?  You've never heard of the "Employee Free Choice Act" except "this morning" on Kos?

        What kind of places do you usually hang out at?

        Independent Illinois Grassroots:

        by patachon on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:24:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Who will enforce (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Special K

         these laws of yours? Cops in the workplace? Employers ignore labor law now. Get real.

         The right to join a union is the right of free association. It is NOT a contest, pitting employers against workers. The NLRA never envisioned it as such. The employer should have no say in the matter. It is a basic right of workers to decide if they wish to be in a union.

         The only way workers have any power in the workplace is through collective action. Without a legally binding and enforceable labor contract, you have no security. None.

        What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

        by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:30:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's not true (0+ / 0-)

          workers have quite a bit of power in the workplace, even when operating alone.

          Here, read's an excellent article envisioning what the labor struggle might look like in a free market, without unions.

          •  Aah, Libertarian fantasy... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K

             As long as there are more workers than jobs the power will always reside with employers.

             We used to have a "free market" in labor. It gave rise to the union movement.

            What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

            by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 05:45:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  workers always have the power (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              because management can't do the work themselves. if the workers strike, management goes hungry too.

              that article is pointing out that the ability to not work is where workers' power lies. That's why employers always seek to limit the ability to strike.

              For example, Taft-Hartley

              •  Have you ever heard of scabs? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Special K

                 The ability to hire permanent replacements for strikers, which employers have in this country, makes a mockery of the right to strike. If workers strike, they can be replaced. If an individual strikes, they just quit their job.

                 You need to get away from the libertarian boards and check out how things work in the real world. Libertarianism is a nice theory, but so is communism.

                What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                by happy camper on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 05:33:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  strikers have been dealing with scabs (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Marja E

                  Since the dawn of the labor movement.

                  But seriously, you didn't even read that article, did you?

                  You don't have to walk off the job and picket outside in order to strike. You can do slowdowns, or mass sick days, or "everyone goes home after lunch"....all of these things have serious effects on the employers, and don't allow for the hiring of scabs.

                  And this isn't libertarianism, per's much closer to anarchism.

    •  Two groups - ties with terrorist orgs? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, unionsally

      Since the two groups are not disclosing who is financing them the dems should go on offense in their ads questioning whether international terrorist groups are financing these groups. When it's a black box everyone has a right to question what's inside it!

  •  I canvassed, in part, on EFCA (25+ / 0-)

    during the '06 Congressional elections.  It's not the easiest sell in the Democratic package, but it is one of the most important.

    Employers have been on an all-out assault against labor unions since the early 1970s.  They have succeeded in reducing the unionization rate in this country from about 30% then to near 10% today.  Over this exact same period, workers' share of the national wealth has dropped dramatically and the super-rich's has increased correspondingly.

    This issue is all about who gets to be in the middle-class.  We need Democrats in Congress to make it happen.

  •  Question (10+ / 0-)

     A close relative of mine is a store manager at one of these big-box retail outfits (not Walmart), and he says that the problem with the EFCA is that it removes the "secret ballot" from employee votes to organize a union.

     My questions:

     1. What's the REAL story? This sounds like wingnut spin, but I didn't have a counterargument handy.

     2. If there is indeed no secret ballot, what's teh rationale behind that?


    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:08:22 AM PDT

    •  The real story (27+ / 0-)

      What employers call "secret ballot election" is actually an undemocratic process that allows employers to legally blast the employees with anti-union propaganda and harass them, while delaying the "vote" for up to years at a time.

      Card check is a perfectly fair and valid system that allows employees to gain legal recognition once they truly have a majority.

      Under the current system, a majority supporting the union can toil for years without a union contract.  It's time to overhaul that.  The "secret ballot" is neither secret, nor fair - it's just one more excuse to delay having to sit at the bargaining table.  

    •  While I don't have an answer persay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie

      I believe that is the exact same argument the anti EFCA people used in their ads.  There was a video one it not too long ago on Olbermann:

      <iframe height="339" width="425" src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

    •  The differencew (14+ / 0-)

      Is that workers, not employers choose how the workers will form a union.  Workers decide whether it is by secret ballot or by majority sign up.

      Employers cannot, nor can they veto the workers rights to decide.

    •  EFCA does not remove the "secret ballot" (18+ / 0-)

      It gives workers a choice, once a majority of them sign union authorization cards, to have an election or to be recognized as a union based on the fact that a majority signed cards.

      Take away secret ballot election is a right-wing talking point.

      •  That's what I thought (10+ / 0-)

        Take away secret ballot election is a right-wing talking point.

          I just didn't have a response handy. Thanks.

          My relative is pretty much a low-information voter -- he thinks "the surge is working", among other things -- so next time this comes up I'm now armed.

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:44:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am pretty sure (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happy camper, brein

          that the card signup is itself secret.  The union would have no reason to post the names; just keep the list to prove to the NLRB that they were all valid employees.

          And once a majority have signed the cards, there's your majority!  Done!  No need for any further voting.

          •  So your coworkers bring you a card (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and pressure you to sign it.  That's your vote.  Let's take the curtains down at the polls so that your neighbors can see you are voting the right way and then you can vote.

            •  on the other hand, lets keep a system (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buckhorn okie, happy camper


              Employers can force workers to go to anti-union meetings, prevent pro-union workers from speaking up at the meetings and employers can threaten, lie, harass, intimidate workers on an hourly, daily, weekly basis until election day.

              Please, William Shipley, I beg you....I would LOVE for you to tell me what's free and fair about that.

              •  When you actually vote (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                oaktownadam, user 174092

                That's the free and fair part.  Yes, both sides are free to say anything that they want prior to the free vote.  But when you actually privately vote, no one can intimidate you.

                It's the basis of our democracy.

                Unions have not been free of harassment either.  There is a lot at stake and passions run high in such matters.  I can easily imagine people having to sign cards under physical duress.

                Note, I am not advocating that the company be able to get people to sign anti-union cards either.  I just think a private election is the essence of individual rights.

                •  no, you are wrong (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Special K, happy camper

                  there is nothing free and fair about a union election. You can't compare the power an employer has over workers with coworkers talking to their colleagues abOut organizing a union. Not the same. The employer has the power to fire someone, causing financial hardship, jeapardizing the workers ability to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. No coworker asking their colleague to sign a union card has that much power.

                  •  Probably not (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    But the power to shun is pretty strong.  If your co-workers are hostile to you because you refuse to sign the card, life is going to be pretty tough.  You probably won't be able to keep your job due to the hostile work environment.

                    But the issue to me is that the essence of a secret ballot is to prevent intimidation from any source.  When someone is opposed to it, then I have to suspect it is because they wish to use intimidation to achieve their ends.

                    Is there any other reason for opposing a secret ballot?

                    •  Every reason (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happy camper, unionsally

                      "Shunning" versus "threat of job loss" - well, if you're older than 13, it's generally clear which one has the advantage.

                      What they so sweetly call "secret ballot" is a system that, in my industry, often lasts longer than the job itself.  Sounds great on paper, but in practice it effectively eliminates the ability to form a union almost every time the employees want one.  The employer has all the power, and the employees only have the option to quit.

                      The term "secret ballot" is highly misleading.

                      •  Well, of course that's a different case (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        If you want to make changes in the manner in which the election takes place, I'm not objecting to that.

                        My only concern is the loss of individual rights that comes when you suffer intimidation from either your employer or your co-workers because you must put your opinion on public record without the protection of a secret ballot.

                        •  Card check happens now (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          It happens all the time in union campaigns, it just doesn't do a darn thing to get union recognition for the employees who sign them.

                          Ask the employees in any union organizing campaign.  Most of them would gladly sign a card certifying the union if it meant they could end the months or years of employer harassment that comes with the undemocratic ballot process.

                    •  first of all William, if you would read the (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Special K, happy camper

                      legislation, you would see that the bill does not eliminate an election, it gives workers the choice to go that route if they want to, or to be recognized as a union after a majority sign cards. This point has been made repeatedly in this diary and the fact that you are still talking about eliminating elections tells me that you really must be against workers being able to have a union.

                      Secondly, I've been a union organizer for almost a decade, and I've never seen workers "Shunned" by their coworkers or have to deal with a hostile work environment because they don't want to sign a card.

                      You know who does create a hostile work environment for pro-union workers? Management. Interesting how you're not so concerned about those workers.

                      •  Hey Sally- (0+ / 0-)

                         I wonder why none of these talking point spouters is concerned that a union supporter might be in hot water with his fellow workers and management if they sign cards and the union fails to gain recognition? The stereotype of union thugs is laughable, but a lot of people seem to buy it.

                        What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                        by happy camper on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 03:49:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  It is not the secret ballot (0+ / 0-)

                       that is objected to, it is the process itself, which is the exact opposite of free and fair. Employers are able to put off elections for months or years, while they fire supporters and organizers, convince workers that if they vote for a union the company will move to Mexico, and then, they are able to ignore the results of the election by simply refusing to bargain.

                       EFCA is more than card check, it also forces the employer to actually bargain in good faith. It puts teeth back into the law, which was always intended to protect and actually encourage workers' right to organize.

                      If you have a better idea to fix this twisted system, go for it. Card check is proven to work. Some employers agree to it (Ford suppliers are strongly encouraged by Ford to recognize card check). Nobody gets their arm twisted to sign cards. The NLRB still supervises the proceedings.  

                      What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                      by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:45:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  The secret ballot ad (0+ / 0-)

          The one with the Sopranos mafiosi:  That's done by Mike Murphy's crew, right?  They even called the committee "The Committee for Democratic"  Shoot, I can't remember, but they used "Democrat" in the title, and I was like, SNAP!

          Anyway, former Mccain campaign Manager telling you how to vote on a union matter.  Draw your own conclusions.

      •  Mccain Referred to It (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimberley, Special K

        during the Warrren's forum.

        I'll admit I knew little about this bill when I heard him make that remark. But the secret ballot talking point did catch my attention.

        The counterpoints are good, unfortunately, I suspect the eyes of those who have a marginal interest in politics will just glaze over.

        Albeit, inaccurate, the secret ballot talking point is effective. If I had not bothered to do a little reading on this, that talking point would have stuck with me.

        It's really sad that the important issues we face in this country have to be distilled into easily consumed talking points, like potato chips.

      •  Bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        It removes the possibility of an election if a majority of workers have signed union authorization cards, which are known to not be a fully reliable indicator of the true wishes of the workers.

        The AFL-CIO itself has directly stated:

        NLRB pledge cards are at best a signifying intention at a given moment. Sometimes they are signed to 'get the union off my back' ... Whatever the reason, there is no guarantee of anything in a signed NLRB pledge card except that it will count toward an NLRB election.


        It is not until the union obtains signatures from 75% or more of the unit that the union has more than a 50% likelihood of winning the election.

        Similarly, the US Supreme Court pointed out:

        The unreliability of the cards is not dependent upon the possible use of misrepresentation and threats ... It is inherent, as we have noted, in the absence of secrecy and in the natural inclination of most people to avoid stands which appear to be nonconformist and antagonistic to friends and fellow employees.

        And the Seventh Circuit Court concluded:

        Workers sometimes sign union authorization cards not because they intend to vote for the union in the election but to avoid offending the person who asks them to sign, often a fellow worker, or simply to get the person off their back, since signing commits the worker to nothing (except that if enough workers sign, the employer may decide to recognize the union without an election).

        If you truly believe that >50% signed union authorization cards is a legitimate indicator of the wishes of the workers to unionize, would you be willing to include in the law that the union should be decertified as soon as >50% of the workers sign anti-union cards?

  •  Its important even for non-unionized workers. The (25+ / 0-)

    fear of unionization acts as a check on management in those cases.

    It's the constitution, stupid

    by CTMET on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:08:56 AM PDT

  •  Wal-Mart is a mess. (8+ / 0-)

    They will no longer even allow volunteers to register people to vote on their properties here in Georgia.  That's how anti-Democratic they have become.

  •  It's about control (15+ / 0-)

    I've seen this in action, and most corporations will do anything not to have to give up control over their employees.  Where there are no financial penalties, they think they gain by fighting this stuff and suppressing union support wherever possible.

    Without steeper penalties, it's only going to get worse.  Union-busting is a thriving industry.

    It's also about public opinion.  It's time that the working class stops buying into the notion of unions as a "third party" and remembers that unions are supposed to represent them.  The decline of labor has played a huge part in the economic gaps we see right now.  Labor has to do its part to get its message out, but first it needs the legal ability to gain a seat at the table again.

  •  I've always disliked Walmart (20+ / 0-)

    and the family that owns it. But I've really made it one of my missions to boycott that place and tell everyone I know about their abuse of employees.

    Also, letters to the editor of local papers can somewhat fight the television ads. And just plain talking to people.

    The US has the worst treatment of workers in the industrialized world. I was talking to someone from Germany yesterday and we both agreed there's be riots in France and Germany if people were given less than four weeks paid vacation per yearor were not given full health care access without paying a bundleor were given less than nine months paid maternity leave and up to three years unpaid.

    Why are American so willing to be treated as less than human? Do we suffer from an inferiority complex? Do the Waltons need to be "billionaires" rather than "multi-millionaires"?

  •  Why Do Republicans Hate Workers? n/t (13+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party: Always ready to bring a knife to a gun fight.

    by Splicer on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:12:32 AM PDT

  •  This is the war............. (6+ / 0-)

    ..............against fascist control of our very own country. Lately the batteles have been lost.

    The election struggle is going to be a major conflict.

    I suggest taking cameras fo your election polls and document anyone objecting to anyone else wanting to vote. Ask how many people have been forced to vote on alternate forms (that probably won't be counted0.

    •  I'll be doing election protection. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, brein

      It's become my new hobby on election day.  I always volunteer for it.  Hopefully I'll do even better than 2004.  It was a lot of fun getting those Republican poll watchers thrown out.  Unfortunately, they got let back in a few hours later after the GOP filed a petition at the courthouse.  At least the voters were protected for a little while.

      There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? -Robert F. Kennedy

      by JSCram3254 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:15:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans don't hate workers they hate unions (16+ / 0-)

    that  make employees lives better  who believes that companies like sharing the wealth, provide health care,  pension benefits etc   unions fight management for the employees   with the declines of unions in the past 30 years we have seen pensions disappear, income raises have decreased except for CEOs  etc    republicans love workers as long as they can pay them slave labor pay and treat them like chit

  •  I'm curious .. all these corporations that (6+ / 0-)

    pour millions into all these battles.  Very effective, aren't they?  And we have people supposedly on our side saying things like "Oh, you can never make single payer health care fly" etc., etc., because the corporations have a gazillion dollars and can shoot anything down.

    Could, you know, throw so much at them at once that to do that would essentially, bankrupt 'em.

    Because every time Democrats in office and in the blogosphere .. everywhere take these as individual battles.  What's wrong with the basic time tested Sun Tzu idea of overwhelming the enemy?

    There are a number of issues like this to which the righties like to pour millions of dollars to defeat something.  And because we keep falling for their strategy, they can take the most threatening issues one at a time.

    If people in Congress had everyone's back on each and every one of these things, and prepared for a full court press .. like health care, unions, GLBT rights, women's rights, abortion, defense spending, media reform .. as opposed to taking it piecemeal ...

    So what if the righties and corporatists were confronted with all of these battles at once?  It takes less money and energy to be positive and progressive than it does to be negative and monkey wrenching things.

    Make them choose their battles.  But, no.  The same failed strategy is seemingly employed, over and over again....

    The Republicans have used divide and conquer too long, too effectively.  The effective answer to that is the reverse .. unite, and crush.

    The opposite of war is not peace, it's creation - Jonathan Larson (-6.62, -6.26)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:17:31 AM PDT

  •  So THATS what this is all about (15+ / 0-)

    There have been many anti union ads on TV here in Oregon lately and I wondered what it was about. They come from this place
    Ive NEVER seen such constant, virulent and well financed anti union propaganda.
    Formerly, employers learned how to work with unions--now its like they declared war on them.

    For someone who knows the history of thelabor movement, its like we're back at the turn of the last century. Whats amazing to me is that anyone actually believes this crap but I don't think they'd put it out there if it wasn't working for them. Its slick and misleadiing---hallmaeks fo repuglicanism.

    Has the labor movement been so routed they don't fight back?

    If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

    by exlrrp on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:18:36 AM PDT

  •  IMO: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimberley, JSCram3254, PaulVA, brein, Cammi317

    Walmart should be recognized as a political organization.

    Why not tax them as such?

    I mean seriously. This is not like you or me sitting in a coffee shop trying to talk a buddy in to seeing the light on voting Democrat; this business is actually gathering more than one person (mass groupings) together to try to seriously motivate individuals in to voting a certain way.

    How much money and time did this cost them, and did they report it yet?

    "Aristocrats... fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society." --Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1825. ME 16:96

    by donkeykick on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:22:46 AM PDT

  •  There's far more than this act (8+ / 0-)

    Passing the EFCA certainly is one of my personal priorities. But there's far more.

    Local Democratic Party organizations should be apprised of local new-unit organizing drives, ongoing contract bargaining, and (worst case) labor disputes in their jurisdictions, and should be supporting their local unions and labor councils in all cases.

    I am constantly recruiting rank and file Democrats to participate in Labor Neighbor canvasses, showing support at union rallies diring negotiating sessions, and making our Democratic Party organization's agenda available to a local union or labor council's representatives for ongoing news updates.

    If you work for a living, labor's agenda is your agenda, even if you think you're a "professional" or a "manager." Unless you own part of the company, you're hired help, and the powers that be can and will screw you over when it suits them to do it.

    I'll echo what the diarist said: When labor is strong, Democrats win.

    When labor is strong, it's good for business. It might not be good for business as usual, but in the long run, we all benefit.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:24:42 AM PDT

    •  Unions also need to do a good job (9+ / 0-)

      of helping each other too. The spouse's union (ATU) does a good job, like listing companies that are practicing unfair labor practices in their monthly magazine (it's been years since I've bought Tyson chicken products).

      Many years ago, I was riding the bus down to one of the local community colleges where I was taking some classes; the driver, a good friend of mine and the spouse, was at the time the shop steward for his bus yard. On the route, we passed by a supermarket that was being struck; they were in the midst of a contract dispute. The driver stopped the bus, got off, pulled out his business card and passed them around telling the picketing workers to contact him if there were any way the local could help them. That's what I'm talking about -- if the Retail Clerks are picketing, the bus drivers can organize to bring them bottled water on a hot day, or maybe provide childcare so more of them can make it to the picket line.

      We're facing the possibility of a strike against my spouse's employer -- the "final contract" really sucks financially (salary increases don't keep up with inflation, and too many drivers have had to move to the Central Valley just to afford a home for their families). With the combination of gas prices and the fact that many of the folks on the transit board are subject to election in their communities, he doesn't think it's going to be a protracted strike; they're not going to want to risk the bad press. But it would be nice to know that unions like SEIU, the Teamsters, etc. have our back.

      "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:07:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Labor does need to work on the "unified" thing (4+ / 0-)

        The public labor spats - SAG vs AFTRA, AFL-CIO vs Change To Win - are definitely damaging in the long run.  

        I recently read Crashing the Gate for the first time, and it really struck me that the problems that labor is facing right now mirror the problems that Democrats have been having recently.  When you put a bunch of smart people on the same side, it's easy to break into squabbles over the details rather than trying to stay unified on the big picture.

        The big picture is EFCA.  We can't lose sight of that.

  •  We've got anti - union ads AND greenwashing (8+ / 0-)

    ads. The greenwashing has been going on for a long time, of course, but here in MN we're now getting flooded by oil industry ads for more drilling, to a degree I haven't seen before.

    Sort of ironic, isn't it, people complain about the high price of gas, but the profits of oil companies are being spent on ads for us all to look at.

  •  OT - A poll to freep (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, makanda

    Folks, ya gotta' go here and freep this.  This is WNBC's local NYC site.  It asks if Obama made the right choice for VP.  It's 51% to 49% against the Biden choice! This figure was broadcast on their nightly news last night. This is NYC. What's up?

    Go and freep it.

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:28:51 AM PDT

  •  There should be a way of outlawing these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    America-haters including Club for Greed.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:31:00 AM PDT

  •  No Wonder the RSCC and RCCC raised so little and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JSCram3254, buckhorn okie

    the RNC so much.  They knew they had this added 50M ally all along and did not need to divert funds from the McCain effort.

  •  I am at home this Sunday, with gratitude (10+ / 0-)

    to my union brothers and sisters who fought for the weekend.

  •  Walmart is a horrible company. (9+ / 0-)

    They are so anti-union that they won't even allow the party run fake union in to their Chinese stores. They have always been a very anti-union company, maybe the worst.

    There needs to be much stronger penalties for union busting. Union busting and loosening of worker protection laws is the main reason for the stagnation of wages over the last 30 years.

    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams

    by ryan81 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:40:48 AM PDT

    •  Is target any better (4+ / 0-)

      We have started doing all of our shopping in target instead of the big star. I know they aren't union but are they at least more employee friendly

      •  Not sure. I try to stay away from Walmart (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JSCram3254, buckhorn okie

        as much as possible. I do do some grocery shopping their because they are cheaper and I can not afford to spend an extra $50-$100 a month on groceries. Though I think I will go back over my budget and find out if I can figure out a way to save that difference elsewhere.

        In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams

        by ryan81 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:45:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I only go there if I need something I can't find (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JSCram3254, buckhorn okie, BMarshall

          anywhere else -- like last week I needed a particular shade of yarn for my Special Olympics scarves and Wally World was the only place that carried it. And I'm trying to do better in judging when I need new underwear so I can order it online from the manufacturer rather than go to Wally World which is the only place that carries my favorite brand.

          "Old soldiers never die -- they get young soldiers killed." -- Bill Maher

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:11:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Target is better (4+ / 0-)

        I worked at Target while in high school. They don't like unions either, but don't put out anti-union propaganda. And they treat their employees well enough that they don't feel a need to unionize. I didn't particularly like my managers (which can be said about any job, anywhere) but on a corporate level, we were treated like employees, not mindless drones.

  •  in 2002 after I was laid off (16+ / 0-)

    and desperate I applied to Wal*Mart once.

    It was a very surreal experience: I was beginning to be involved in political online stuff, but just barely, and didn't know anything about the Five Sisters or any of this stuff, and although I had grown up in a very theocratic-conservative household and was familiar with all the anti-union rhetoric that was in all our conservative Catholic magazines and newspapers (much of it syndicated by national columnists like Buchanan and Will) it never meant much to us b/c we were single-issue "prolife" cons, what would now be called "Crunchy Cons" only in the early 1970s, gullibly pulling the lever for Republicans over and over again all the while decrying Big Business and Soulless Capitalist Materialistic Excess and calling for Chestertonian back-to-the-land organic farming agrarian anarchdo-syndicalism and Arts-and-crafts anti-mass-production corporatism.

    Yeah, in retrospect it makes no fucking sense, but the ability to ignore cognitive dissonance is a wonderfully-developed quality.

    So anyway, unlike all the rhetoric about how contraception was abortion and abortion (and feminine sexuality altogether, including pants and the honorific "Ms.") was going to Destroy The Christian West and leave us vulnerable to the Godless Commies (this was the 1970s, after all) the anti-union rhetoric registered but never sunk in on any visceral level, and meant nothing to me until I went to fill out the application and was given an enormous SAT-type test full of insane multiple-choice questions full of the double-bind gradeschooler-trying-to-bargain-out-of-chores sophistry.

    I realized that they were trying to oh-so-cleverly weed out people who, among other things (like goofing off - or not ratting out friends who did these things!) would be likely to unionize. That they wanted totally stupidly docile drones who would never ask for anything and would enthusiastically report and tattle on their coworkers for the slightest infraction no less than the big ones.

    I also wondered how the hell this test could work, since the questions were so full of double negatives that I, who did pretty well in Formal Logic as a Philosphy major, could hardly work out what was the "right" answer in them. I concluded that they would probably only get the "Right" sort of people by accident, this was so overthought and self-defeating. So by the time I had finished this I was pretty pissed off and stressed out, and then the interviewer who simultaneously had told me that they were very shorthanded right then and NEEDED someone right away, told me that I would have to tell them all the days I would need off RIGHT THEN for the whole year to even be CONSIDERED for the job.

    I was both baffled and indignant. Yes, my shoes were full of holes and I was subsisting on rice at that point. Yes, I was desperate. But this was outrageous - how the hell was I supposed to know what days I would need for a year out, and lock myself into it, when I was applying for a retail job? How was this even reasonable, in a retail job? I had worked retail in the mall for one of the nation's largest chains for several years - there was no such idiocy about committing to a vacation days schedule at the entrance interview.

    "I'm sorry," I told her, "but I have no way to give an answer to that - I'll have to look at my calendar at home and see if I have any commitments that I've forgotten about."

    "Well, then I don't think you're right for us," she snapped back, and I shrugged and left, vowing to never shop at a Wal*Mart again. That was before I knew that they were Evil with a capital E, from reading political blogs and websites, so it wasn't such a principled step as a matter of Achillean honour - you want hardworking, competent, clean-living staffers to pay a shitty but better-than-nothing wage? Fine, I'm willing to be exploited - you want mindless servile automatons who will lie down to your bullying? Ciao!

    The biggest irony though was that she called me back a week later asking me if I was still interested in the job and they were willing to "talk" about the vacation time thing - but by then I'd found something else. I found that a very strange thing - seriously, in a city of 100k people in a badly-downturned economy, they couldn't find enough qualified people less stubborn and proud than me to stock shelves?

    But it made me aware that there was some kind of weird connection between the so-called "Social Conservativism" and the so-called "Fiscal Conservativism" that wasn't just an accident, and it hadn't been random that our same magazines that had been ranting against The Pill and Planned Parenthood's "abortion mills" and Monty Python as horrible abominations and signs of the Apocalypse were also ranting against Unions, Social Security, and the Minimum Wage...

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:42:30 AM PDT

    •  I worked there after I graduated (7+ / 0-)

      It was the only job I could find on short notice (I moved to NE after I graduated and needed to help my then fiancee with the rent. I only worked their for a short time while I was deciding whether I wanted to go to medical school or graduate school. It was the worst job I have ever had, I serious would rather do anything than work there again.

      In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams

      by ryan81 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:49:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always wonder if a person wanted to they (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JSCram3254, buckhorn okie

        could be the exception. Go in, figure it out, change it. I guess they've had 30 years of practicing crushing anyone who won't conform.

        •  Go in, figure it out, get fired. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JSCram3254, buckhorn okie

          Oh, it's happened.  After all, what's the penalty for Wal-Mart?

          EFCA would change that, which is why Wal-Mart is so rabid to suppress it that they're risking a labor law violation by strongly encouraging their employees to vote Republican.

        •  You can't change systems from within (6+ / 0-)

          Either you get crushed, or you become the enemy and no longer want to change it.

          It sounds like a good idea, but it never works - one man against an army only works in the movies, and to be a succesful mole is a lot easier said than done: you have to be able to be TOTALLY duplicitous, and as our recent concern troll confession showed, to be sooo perfect that nobody suspects you isn't easy even in the non-face-to-face interactions of a forum.

          And once you put on the fake identity, enough to pass successfully as a True Believer, well, either you start questioning your original motivations as you increasingly self-identify with the group you have joined (we are social animals after all) and change, like cartwright did, and come clean; or you gain so much from the system - a better paycheck, the envy of your subordinates and the head-patting of your bosses as you rise, the social status - that you now have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, and a vested interest in fighting of any challenges to that status quo, which are threats to you now.

          Saw this happen with my own hipster-liberal supervisor at an indy paper: he was all about Down With The Man and Doing It Right and going to set up his own magazine and trying to Look Out For Us His People in the departent...until he got put on salary with a big raise and better benefits. Then, suddenly, he could See The Owner's Perpective and was all about the backstabbing of us rank-and-file typeslingers.

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:31:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Soon we may have to become the change (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buckhorn okie, brein

            from within. All the ways that used to be open for change are becoming brick walls.

            •  then we're going to have to be willing to sacrifi (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kimberley, buckhorn okie, rlharry, brein

              ce in ways that I haven't seen very much of, to be honest, even in the liberal blogosphere. There's so much genuflecting to the rights of corporatist overlords, even here on the New Left, so much acceptance already of American Exceptionalism and God-Given Privilege and howling screaming baby-temper-tantrums over even the suggestion of giving things up for the sake of others, of any kind of Dorothy-Day-Godless-Commie-Hippie-Bullshit about "living simply so that others may simply live" - I remember the passionate, passionate defenses of the Right To Drive SUVs a couple years ago here, and how this was a NEED, DAMMIT, not a luxury!!! (even tho' SUVs hardly existed 20 years ago) reminding me of the time when as a charity pupil at a private school, my mind was boggled as my classmates insisted that yes, they HAD known the same sort of want and deprivation as kids in the third world [sic] - one girl complained that her lawyer parents wouldn't give her the pair of Doctor Scholls Excersoles that she NEEDED, and another brought up the Pac-Man Watch that they had been denied...

              If we don't change, however, then we will be changed - from without. And it will be a hell of a lot worse when it is imposed upon us by circumstances beyond our control. But there are many, many extinct civilizations across the globe, and why should we be the exception to ten thousand years of history?

              "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

              by bellatrys on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:49:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There will be no change until economic reality (6+ / 0-)

                really sets in. Americans have been allowed to believe they are middle class because of their credit cards and housing equity loans. This is coming to an end with the credit shut down.

                Some will still be ok. Food, housing, cars. But find luxuries are not possible. Others, will soon not be able to afford even those. When enough people lose their fake prosperity but still see it on tv one of two things will happen: either the system will completely shut them out and it won't matter they will be marginalized, or, they will demand change from the system and it might not be in a nice way.

                •  if we give ourselves Dust Bowl II (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  buckhorn okie

                  or other forms of arable land loss due to climate change, we may be in a position from which "changing the system" is not going to be able to recover us, no matter how much people give up luxuries.

                  "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

                  by bellatrys on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:05:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I had no illusions it would be any fun (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckhorn okie, Special K, rlharry, brein

        But I had been in dreary hellish jobs before, and counting up pennies found under the sofa to go and buy the 10-for-$1 ramen instead of paying $.15 each had gotten really, really old by then.

        I thought I would be a cinch, though - I had no criminal record, had never used drugs, drank minimally, could read and write English and had no history of disciplinary infractions and several good recommendation letters - I was good at keeping my head down and doing my job whatever it was and not making waves - and I had worked retail in the third biggest mall in the state at Christmas for three years running for a big national chain store, of course they'd hire me without any problems, I thought.

        If I had known they were going to be hunting out union types, I still wouldn't have had any worries, because I'd never been in a unionizable job, ergo never been in a union, came from a family with no union connections (USAF to conservative Catholic punditry career) and at that point, had no strong opinions one way or the other, considering myself still a "Moderate" rather than a liberal and figuring that since I knew a number of smart decent people who were enthusiastic union supporters and some who were using, abusive, bigoted schmucks, that the reality must like somewhere in the center between "Unions Are Divine!" and "Unions Ruined America" view in our conservative publications.

        That I would be too much of an egghead-radical for WalMart after working retail in the mall and surviving in a very reactionary-conservative industry for a long time before and after that, just because I was honest about my attitudes towards other people's personal lives (I think "if you suspect that your coworkers may be drinking after work, would you report this?" was a question, and my thought was "WTF? How is this a) any of my business, b) any of the store's business, so long as they don't come in hungover? What is this, 1922?") and made the IMO quite reasonable objection that it was entirely unreasonable of them to expect me to commit to a year's worth of vacation scheduling at an initial application interview - well, I would have considered it paranoia until I experienced it...

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:42:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Link about Employee Free Choice Act (5+ / 0-)

    Here is a web page with a lot of information about why the Employee Free Choice Act is needed, what it does, and there is also a petition to sign. So far, over 550,000 people have signed the petition in support of this legislation. Our goal is to get 1,000,000 signatures to present to President Obama and our new, stronger (i.e. Dem) Congress. If you haven't already done so, please sign the petition.


  •  Attention, Walmart managers: (10+ / 0-)

    Unionization will result in higher salaries for managers as well as rank and file workers.

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:01:52 AM PDT

  •  Looking for more info on penalties. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Special K, NogodsnomastersMary

    I feel badly about asking this, mainly because I did some work for the AFL-CIO a while back.  It's just been a long time and I haven't looked at the bill in a while.  What are the penalties for illegal firings under EFCA?

    There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? -Robert F. Kennedy

    by JSCram3254 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:04:12 AM PDT

  •  I honestly believe the gop (7+ / 0-)

    really thought they were going to have-what Rove was shooting for-a permanent republican majority in this country. Now they're scrambling to realize as much of it as they can. Too little too late.
        As all the polls indicate-America is sick and tired of the gop and all their silly posturing, their ridiculous strutting about, as pompous as can be. Enough is enough.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:36:10 AM PDT

    •  America is sick of the GOP? (1+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Trapper John

      that's strange given that Pelosi's approval rating is in single digits and Congress's approval rating is in the teens...Looks like america is sick of the Democrats.

      Can't wait until the McCain/Obama debates...Obama will finally have to answer a question, unless the question is above his pay grade...LOL

      •  Get lost troll. (6+ / 0-)

        How many McCain points did you get today?

      •  Here's why people who read (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        echatwa, unionsally

        disagree with you:

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 09:44:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Have you seen the generic polling? (0+ / 0-)

        Democrats are at least 10 points ahead of Republicans in the congressional generic polling. The Democrats, according to all polling, have the largest registration advantage over Republicans in at least 25 years. Regarding approval rating: may I remind you that Democrats are MORE negative about the performance of the Congress than Republicans? Liberal Democrats are fed up about the fact that Congress has consistently caved to Bush on the Iraq war and the Constitution, let alone the fact that they have taken NO steps to even come close to impeaching Bush and Cheney for their multiple felonies.

        What all this shows us is that America is sick of decades of conservative and Republican policies that have laid waste to us economically, destroyed our foreign policy, and have attempted to smash our personal liberty.

        And I can't wait until the McCain/Obama debates either. Given the fact that McCain can't even come up with a complete thought in a debate (based on his performance in the Republican debates), Obama will just crush him in any debate format.

  •  Hopefully Obama and Biden will bring (6+ / 0-)

    attention to union issues and worker concerns.  Perhaps all those people who have been going to Obama camp will be able to take that knowledge and skill out into the world after the election to organize other important efforts such as labor unions.  Obama and Biden need to help get out the message about why unions are needed.  

    We know how big business feels about unions, and workers for that matter.  Organizers need to move around it, not write dissertations about it.

  •  I wholly support the EFCA (5+ / 0-)

    It will give unions a chance to compete against corporatist bullying.  We need stronger unions as a counterbalance against corporate power.

    Of course, not every corporation is against the Democrats.  The company I work for seems to be neutral on the subject of the election.  They are prepared to lobby whichever side wins.

  •  What the reality is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oaktownadam, tammanycall

    Is that the most unionized segment of workers are local, state and federal workers - while I don't really have a problem with unions going up against big business interests, I do have a problem with them in the gpvernment sector - these unions "sell" their votes - so they get taxpayer pensions after 20 years - it's a crime that someone can retire at 45 years of age and collect $65 K per year for the rest of their lives - the taxpayers cannot afford this.  Sorry union supporters but this is bullshit and you all know it - it's not sustainable.  You want a pension, then you should have to wait until 65 to collect or keep working or get another job.  MOst go on to get another job anyways.

  •  as I understand it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K

    Employee Free Choice Act is one of the most important

    this Act is the 2008 election motivating factor for the GOP/neocons they want this GONE.......

    now I will read up on it to find out EXACTLY why that is.....

    These times require more than a good soldier they require a wise leader. - O'Biden

    by goodacre on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 07:59:10 AM PDT

  •  Railroads and the GOP (4+ / 0-)

    This is something I speculated about the other day. There seems to be a real anti-passenger rail bias in the DNA of the GOP, and they don't seem to be all that keen about boosting freight rail either.

    I wonder how much of that is because the railroad industry is a traditional source of union activity? Railroads today are still one of the industries where unions still have an important role. Do anything to boost the railroads, and there will be a corresponding boost in the number of people who have union jobs and look to unions to help them.

    You know that political calculation is being made, and by their nature railroads are not an industry that can be off-shored to non-union countries. The big money boys who own the GOP include the upper management of railroads (Remember Tony Snow?) and they definitely do not like unions.

    I have no evidence to back this up, but it seems pretty plausible and is something to keep in mind. It would be interesting to see the GOP reaction if it was charged they were trying to kill Amtrak and block energy-efficient transport because they were afraid of creating union jobs.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:00:39 AM PDT

    •  Very likely (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, Special K, xaxnar

      Railroads have been a hotbed not just of union activity, but minority organizing.  The Civil Rights movement began in local black churches but also in the the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and other transit unions.

      What could be more scary to the GOP than organized black people?      

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." (Frederick Douglass, 1857)

      by dotalbon on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:03:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let people have to vote to get OUT of the union (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    Let's reverse the situation that we have today.

    Let's go beyond The Free Choice Act.

    Let's pass a law instantly unionizing the entire workforce. Every place of work, and every worker, no matter WHAT classification, IS unionized. Every individual work site has a recognized union if they have a workforce. (Workers would still have to organize it, but it's there for the taking.)

    Under the new rules, if you wanted OUT of the union, then you would have to go to people's houses, talk to them about why the union is a bad deal, and get them to sign cards. Once you have enough cards, you can ask for an election.

    BUT, you would be prohibited from any anti-union activity at the workplace until "recognized."

    Meanwhile, employees, on PAID company time, would be treated to hours of seminars educating them about the benefits of union membership, UNREBUTTED.

    Meanwhile, anti-union organizers could have their shifts changed, be demoted, get bad performance reviews, etc. Which is ALL ILLEGAL, of course, but no matter! Try to enforce it and it falls on deaf ears.

    Meanwhile, the corporate charters are changed to put union advocates on the board and in the top tier of management, to quash any anti-union schemes.

    We've tried it the other way around for about 25 or 30 years, and it didn't work out so well for the entire workforce. And the corporatocracy instituted the current regime in response to a 30% unionized workforce!

    I think this plan is really only fair for corporate workplaces, since they have public charters. But what the hell? Why be fair?

    If companies go under because they can't afford to pay workers, well, that's the free market! If we have too many companies go under because they are competing with overseas slave labor, no problemo! TARRIFFS are supposed to fix that.

    What's that you say? Protectionism? YER DAMN RIGHT. Who's being currently "protected?" Not overseas slave labor. Not American workers.  

    •  insane (0+ / 0-)

      Who exactly would this benefit, other than the unions selected by the government to represent the workers?

      A government-granted monopoly on labor would destroy our freedom of free association. It would also be impossible to judge how effective it is, as there would be no competition, nothing to compare it to.

      If companies go under because they can't afford to pay workers, who is going to employ all of those workers? Or do you have a government program to fix that too?

      •  Strawman arguments (0+ / 0-)

        Who exactly would this benefit, other than the unions selected by the government to represent the workers?

        I never said that the government would "select" unions to represent the workers. If you read what I wrote more carefully, you'll note that I said that the workers would still have to organize the union.

        You can't have a union unless the workers organize it, whether a law recognizes every workplace as "unionized" or not. A union isn't something outside the workplace that enters into the workplace. A union is just what the word "union" suggests: an organization of the workers themselves.

        To answer your question, my proposal would benefit every working person in the country.

        A government-granted monopoly on labor would destroy our freedom of free association.

        What "government-granted monopoly on labor?" Passing a law recognizing all workplaces as "unionized" wouldn't create any monopoly.

        Each and every worksite would have it's own labor organization, if the workers organize it.

        Locals in the same industires could work together cooperatively, or even convene delegates to create federations (Like they did to create AFL-CIO, for example). But that wouldn't create a "government-granted monopoly."

        Speaking of "government-granted monoplies," though: they aren't as unusual as you might think. We have quite a few of them. They are called corporations.

        It would also be impossible to judge how effective it is, as there would be no competition, nothing to compare it to.

        A misconception. Do you imagine that each and every union has the exact same contract as every other union?

        If the workforce had representation on the board and in the executive governing structure, as well as collective bargaining, then "competitiveness" would be a team effort, and would be an upfront part of collective bargaining. As it should be for organizations with government-granted charters.

        If companies go under because they can't afford to pay workers, who is going to employ all of those workers?

        Do you think that all workers would make the same amount of money, regardless of skill, merit, education or experience simply because they have a union? That isn't the way the real world operates, with a union or without one. If a company goes under because they can't afford to pay their workers, then they probably need new leadership.

        Do you imagine that corporations would simply disappear if self-proclaimed aristocrats stamped their feet and decided to close everything? No, indeed. And they wouldn't get away with trying to walk away with the wealth they accumulated under a government-granted charter, either.

        To answer your question, I DO have a government program to fix calamitous miscalculations from corporate leadership.

        Charter revocation. Trustee receivership. Disenfranchisement of majority shareholders. New board elections. And finally, new management, preferably managers who have ONE TITLE per person. ANY state governor could do what I just described, preferably with the cooperation of a progressive attorney general.

        Just one final question.

        our freedom of free association

        Unionizing the whole country would destroy what freedom? I proposed reversing the situation as it exists today. The obstacles I would propose we use to discourage getting OUT of the union are the same obstacles currently in place which prevent union organization. You want to explain that "freedom of association" a little more?

  •  Unions have failed us... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hippykicker, oaktownadam

    I know this isn't popular, as I've already had one post deleted by members who don't believe in hearing opposite views.  On a side note: it's ironic how we demand freedom of speech in America, but not on this site.  It's no wonder why this site gets such negative publicity from the right.

    I believe that Unions were once a necessary and vital entity to protect workers from "indentured servatude".  However, with the laws enacted during the 20th century to protect workers, Unions have had to repackage themselves to maintain their memberships.  Unions such as the UAW have consistantly had their hands in every major decision on how to run the U.S. Automakers.  Everything from vehicle design to production runs, including overproduction even when a vehicles sales were down.  

    •  you really are misinformed or you're deliberately (5+ / 0-)

      spreading lies. Which is it?

    •  That's exactly what the corporations (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, JDPITALIA, rlharry, echatwa

      would like us to believe.

      Don't look at the widening economic gaps.  Don't look at the unemployment rate.  Don't look at the benefits of unionization.  Don't look at how hard we're fighting to keep unions out and think about what that means.

      Just look at this one example of how a union made a mistake.  See?  That's what'll happen if we get more unions around this country.  

      The union difference matters.  Yes, labor has obligations to the work force, and yes, in most cases, they're fulfilled.  The examples of corporate excess far outweigh the examples of union shortcomings.

    •  What unions really are (9+ / 0-)

      I think there's a basic problem here. Unions shouldn't be thought of as a particular group, like Methodists or vegetarians. Unions are a technique, a method for people who work to come together and organize for better conditions at work. That's it.

      If you don't like particular unions, that's one thing. I'm sure there are other unions whose efforts you'd find neutral or even laudable, though they won't get as much press, and as much negative press, as the UAW at GM. I'm a member of the CWA, and I disagree with some of their political decisions, but on the whole it's a democratic, vibrant labor community, that pushes very positive social policy along with member representation.

      Unions do need to reform a bit to match the possibilities offered by new communications technology, but on the whole the question is simply this: should workers be able to develop their own organizations to press for changes at work, or shouldn't they? I think if you believe in democracy, you have to believe in unions, and making access to unions as unbureaucratic as possible.

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRKos, oaktownadam

      DrKos - you are exatly right with all of your points.  I can't believe your post hasn't been deleted yet.  My dad worked as a mechanic for Delta for years and tried as hard as possible to keep the Unions out b/c they saw all the negatives around the Pilot's Union.  I also know members of the UAW that sit in a room all day and do nothing, except make $50/hour, because the company can't get rid of either non performing people or people that don't have work.  And people wonder why our auto industry is in such a mess.  

    •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie

      unions failed because of the easy outsourcing of jobs.  Thank NAFTA for that. And to address your other point, the unions are only as good as its members are active.  Very similar to our country and national elections.  

      "Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

      by liberalconservative on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:32:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        we can go on and on about why the unions have failed, and people routinely write doctoral dissertations on the subject, but is it possible that unions failed because they became corrupt, bloated bureaucracies which stopped looking out for the workers, and started looking out for themselves?

        Is it possible that they became part of the problem?

    •  Good Post... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRKos, oaktownadam

      I too have had several posts deleted on this subject, simply because it reflects the same view as yours.  Unions had a noble beginning and have served their purpose, we have laws now to protect individuals from abuses that did not exist back then.  Thank God we have them now.  We have child labor laws, wage/hour laws, fmla, worker comp laws, federal/state/local minimum wage laws, ...Unions now are all about enriching a few people at the top and helping fund and promote a political agenda.

    •  I can tell you firsthand that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Special K


      Unions such as the UAW have consistantly had their hands in every major decision on how to run the U.S. Automakers.  Everything from vehicle design to production runs, including overproduction even when a vehicles sales were down.  

      is bullshit. It is so stupid and uninformed that it doesn't deserve a reply.


      What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

      by happy camper on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 05:51:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You obviously don't have a clue as to the relationship between organized labor and management.  Why don't you read the following from a 1998 NY Times article, and this should give you a glimpse as to the power of unions.  

        Stop repeating and start reading!

        And this was when times were good.

        •  I have been a UAW member for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Special K

           31 years. I know far more about the inner workings of my union than you will ever learn from reading a newspaper article by some clueless reporter repeating what management told him.

           The article you reference, about the 1998 strike, doesn't tell the full story. GM basically forced that strike because they thought the union would back down. They removed production equipment from a factory in violation of prior contract agreements. As to the welders who were working 6 hours for 8 hours pay: they were doing what management wanted them to do. Getting their work done fast, allowing time for inspectors to make sure the product was ready for the next stage of production. How do I know this? Because I know the guys who were doing the work.

           Remember, the company negotiators are not idiots. They only agree to things they think will be good for the business. Nor are the union negotiating team fools. The union has an interest in helping the business thrive, since we all need a job. Your right wing talking point of "unions are bad! They'll destroy the company!" is still bullshit.

          What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

          by happy camper on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 05:53:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

            You confirmed my point.  When organized labor can force an accord on hours worked, type of work, amount of work, the company MUST abide.  

            Case in point: September 2007, UAW strikes forcing managment to the table.  Why don't you inform everyone what the settlement was.  Why don't you also inform everyone the average salary is $73/hr.  Further more, lets also remind everyone that the economy is in the gutter along with GM's stock price.
            GM 1999 - Stock Price $87
            GM 2008 - Stock Price $10

            Yeah, you and your union buddies keep going back to that well - it won't be there much longer; and neither will your pensions.  That's ok with you though, you'll just expect the Federal Government to bail you guys our right?


  •  Employee Free Choice Act (6+ / 0-)

    The EFCA is the Civil Rights Act for the working class. But it's not even on the radar of most working class Americans thanks to the weakness of the labor movement, our corporate owned news media and the corporate tilt of the Democratic Party.

    For years, the Democratic Party has treated organized labor as  "the help". Union activists are called upon to do the phone trees, the door knocking, the e-mailing and the street level organizing. But once the election is over, they are often left begging at the door of the Democratic Party for relief.

    The question is: Who is the most important constitutiency of the Democratic Party: the working class or Corporate America. I don't object to CEO's in the Democratic Party, but they should be playing by working class rules, not the other way around.

    We could use more far-seeing business leaders who understand that while you may have to do some tough negotiating with your unionized workers in the short-run, an organized and educated working class is the best hope for a future beyond next week.

    The EFCA is a big step in the right direction much as the Wagner Act was in the Great Depression. But let's not kid ourselves. Corporations like Walmart won't go down without a fight.

    It took a class war on the streets of America to being the CIO into this world. It took the murder of civil rights workers in Mississippi and the bloodshed on the Selma Bridge before the walls of legal segregation fell.

    I fear that we will see something similar before today's walls of workplace fascism come tumbling down as well.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:15:48 AM PDT

  •  Sorry I'm french (0+ / 0-)

    I heard about this book. It may be that it is really the top of the tops. Unfortunately, with my poor English, how to consult?

    Please, excuse my english.

  •  Unions Keep Illegal Immigrants... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, liberalconservative

    ... out of the workplace. Thom Hartmann made this assertion a few years ago.

    50 years back, workers came up from Mexico to work the harvest, then went back home.

    Why? There were no other jobs available to them then. Carpenters were union, food processing plants were union. Unions have a vested interest in preventing illegals from working. Employers do not.

    Unions are part of a strong nation and a strong economy.

    Try that one out on your conservative friends.

    BushCheney Inc. - They lied to me, they lied to you, they lied to our troops.

    by jjohnjj on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:17:15 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this post, (6+ / 0-)

    Miss Laura.  Solidarity.

    "The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels." Al Gore, 7/17/08

    by TomP on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:22:08 AM PDT

  •  EVERY Nickle An Hour = $104 a Year. 104 for 10 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    years at 5 % is 169.40

    104 for 10 years at 7% is 204.58

    This is NOT about fucking ideals and BIG words and BIG ideas and BIG rights


    EVERY 100 bucks YOU LOSE

    is 100 less to educate YOUR Kids,
    is 100 less to help YOUR granny,
    is 100 less towards YOUR retraining,
    is 100 less towards YOUR retirement,
    is 100 less for fixing your house OR buying a house,
    is 100 less for fixing your car to get to work OR buying a car that will get you to work,

    WHY does ANYONE let themselves get ripped off for a 100 bucks?

    cuz you're too fucking dumb?
    cuz you're too fucking lazy?

    cuz those rich bastards are making sure you can't do shit about them ripping you off?

    IF you LIKE getting fucked over,
    STAY home,
    drolling on your ignorant ass,
    watching the idiot box!

    those rich bastards will be HAPPY that you're too busy drooling on yourself to figure out how many 100's you're getting screwed out of!


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:29:11 AM PDT

    •  and how much do you pay in union dues? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm willing to bet it's more than $100/year.

      •  and you'd be working for 2 bucks a week w/ no (0+ / 0-)


        14 hours a day,
        7 days a week,

        so that the rockefellars and gates can live like kings, pashas, and lords!

        but, you probably think that is

        ha ha ha

        free market,


        you're probably to dumb to count to 52 weeks * 2.


        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 06:31:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          because i'm not in the unskilled labor market. my profession (network engineering) is almost completely non-union. Not only that, but I'm an independent contractor, so my hourly rate is purely the rate that I can negotiate on the open market.

          there are a limited number of people who specialize in my field, and that scarcity sets the market rate for wages. Not some union negotiator.

          If you don't like what the market sets as the rate for your product (labor), then change the product.

          IE: GET AN EDUCATION.  

          •  how old are you? WHERE did the infrastructure to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K

            have networks come from?

            Where did the routers come from? the fiber optic cable?

            The stuff got MADE somewhere and SHIPPED to customers and INSTALLED and CONNECTED in thousands of locations with

            COPS, FIRE PEOPLE,

            Where did the money for that stuff come from?

            In the 40's and 50's and 60's people were making family wages AND they paid some of those wages into community investment

            and NOW there is the infrastructure for the internet and people like YOU!

            This shit didn't just pop outta the air when YOU needed it.

            how old are you?

            I worked in operations at microsoft for 5 years - MOST of the people I worked with SHOULD have been outsourced to India for 10 bucks a day!

            WHEN you think they're gonna do it to your ass, hot shot?

            never ?? ha ha ha.


            Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

            by seabos84 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:48:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  where to begin? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Wow, you made so many specious comments that it's hard to pick a place to start responding. In fact, it's not even clear what your comment has to do with unions at all. You seem to be trying to pick a fight with libertarianism, rather than responding to my comment.

              I'm not going to get into the history of telecommunications with you, because I think it's at best tangential to the discussion thread.

              Let me summarize what's been said so far:

              You suggested that each nickel of increased wages resulted in $104 extra per year.

              I responded that the dues that union management siphons off of its members is probable more than $100/year.

              You then replied that without unions, I would be making $2/week.

              I responded that my field has no unions, and that I make more than $2/week, so the market must value my labor more than that.

              You then replied with a non sequitur, that I wouldn't have my job without the infrastructure that had been built in this country, and that people before me made "community investments". Then you suggested that most of the people you worked with at Microsoft should have been outsourced to India.

              Wow, you must have been fun to work with! I'm sure most of your colleagues are glad that you're no longer working with them, due to your dim opinions of them.

              As far as when my job will be outsourced, I've never had any guaranteed jobs, so I have always had to improve myself and make myself more attractive to prospective employers. That's called "career development", and it's something that EVERYONE should be doing. I'm sure there's people who are perfectly happy to do the exact same job the exact same way for their entire lives, but that's never been the case for me or anyone I know.

              I am confident that I can (and do!) compete in the job market with people from all over the world. Protectionism only serves to make you weak. Globalization is not going away, and trying to go backwards is a terribly un-progressive mindset.

              At-will employment is a sword that cuts both ways. Sure, the employer can fire you at any time, for any reason. But you can quit, at any time, for any reason. If you play your cards right, this means that you actually have pretty good leverage over your employer.

              I've never put much stock into the old "workers are always oppressed by management because they have no power" bullshit, because I've seen first hand how much power individual workers do have. I think that mindset only serves to disenfranchise workers, playing into the hands of the corrupt union bosses and management itself.

              The only person I trust to look out for my best interests is ME.

              As far as your drivel about my age, I'm not going to dignify that with a response. Your argument must be weak to require ad hominem attacks like that.

        •  McDonald's can't even hire for minimum wage. (0+ / 0-)

          That's free market at work.

  •  The GOP has done a good job demonizing unions (5+ / 0-)

    In the same manner they have turned liberal into a dirty word, at least in some circles.

    Seems to me what is needed here is a huge public information campaign to remind people of the benefit of unions, the history of how unions helped workers, and educate the public on what employers are able to do to stop unions from being created, and how unfair it is.

    We here at this blog are likely more aware than the average person who is working at a non-union job of all these details. How can we educate more people of the benefits of unions, especially those young enough to not have been in the work force back when unions were stronger?

    Maybe the unions themselves need to spend some money teaching America why we should not let unions fade away.

    I am a person who's life was better thanks to unions, my father had a decent paying job due to a union, a salary he never would have gotten without a union. Everyone does not get a college degree and find professional jobs earning above the average. Unions give them that opportunity.

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 08:30:47 AM PDT

  •  Unions kept strong would have prevented many of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K, rlharry

    abuses of bottom 98% of us I've seen last few decades. Or at leasst the bottom 80% of us. And I don't give a damn for the rest.

  •  Those were the good old days (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, GN1927, unionsally

    Back in the 40's 50's and 60's you could get a good paying middle class job right out of high school without going to college. Now there's barely any blue collar middle class anymore thanks to outsourcing, free trade, and union busting that took place in the late 70's to today.

  •  And why the f**k, do we not... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    have a law on the books requiring the funding for these ads and these groups be made public?  I thought that was required by law?

    If it is not, then Congress has no one to blame but themselves.

  •  It's not just big business, trust me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    I work for a small business and when the 2004 election was in full effect the President of the company included a letter in our pay envelopes that said in effect that if the GOP was NOT elected our business would suffer because the Dems would eliminate the tax breaks and the like.

  •  Worker's rights are being shot to hell. (4+ / 0-)

    The subject title says it all. Workers rights are being shot to hell by the corporate titans, the union busters, and the right-wing pinheads that say capitalism should run rampant and trample a worker's constitutional rights (or, as a conservative would put it, Lazzie-fare). An employer, a CEO, a corporation, has no right to push their workers around, telling them who to vote for. They're already screwing them with low pay! This is why I support the labor movements, and the unions, because this isn't just an attack on workers rights, but an attack on the democratic process.

    Wal-Mart; go to hell.

    There isn't a Liberal America, there isn't a Conservative America, there is the United States of America! -Barack Obama

    by Advent of Democracy on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 09:36:11 AM PDT

  •  If the Plutcrats keep pushing, they'll get an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, oaktownadam

    American revolution.  Serfdom is a hard sell nowadays.

    McCain on bipartisanship: "I'll embarrass a Democrat any chance I get". --Phoenix Times

    by moondancing on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 09:41:36 AM PDT

  •  That kind of anti-union crap... (6+ / 0-)

    ... should be more than enough to make anyone decide to be pro-union!

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? I plant lots of seeds, but all I get's weeds, and I ain't gonna garden no mo'!

    by SciMathGuy on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:01:34 AM PDT

  •  Anyone who wants workers to be able to "opt out" (5+ / 0-)

    of union membership is probably also in favor of "opting out" of Social Security, which of course would bring the system to a crashing halt.

    I expect that's the idea.  

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." (Frederick Douglass, 1857)

    by dotalbon on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:05:21 AM PDT

    •  Why do you think that? (0+ / 0-)

      In some union shops the union will work for the interests of one group of members to the detriment of the interests of a minority group of member workers. Should we force workers to be part of and pay dues to a union that is working against them?

  •  Must be a really important (7+ / 0-)

    Issue with the amount of trolls this diary is bringing out.  Those of you against unions, I suggest you send your kids to a mine or mill to work for awhile, since the union movement was largely behind child labor laws.

    OH-16: John Boccieri will finally end 36 years of Regula Rule.

    by marcvstraianvs on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:13:45 AM PDT

    •  It shows just how important the issue is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, unionsally

      that it can get the other side riled up this much.

      And while I don't disagree with your point about mines and mills, there are plenty of modern issues on which we need unions, too.  Fair wages and working conditions and benefits are still important in today's economy.

  •  This is good stuff. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    I posted some of the quotes and a link to this thread over at another site.


    A Spirit with a Vision is a Dream with a Mission

    by CO Democrat on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 10:37:58 AM PDT

  •  an uncomfortable view (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hippykicker, DRKos, tammanycall

    It appears that the industries which are most devastated by moving operations offshore are those that are most heavily unionized.  

    It is not just political acts in Washington that have impacted the strength of our workers here - it is pure economics.

    I purchase a car based in part on the price, and it is easy to see why businesses base their decisions in part on price.  Unions have the unique ability to kill the jobs they represent, and they have been quite successful at that.  

    The most successful business and by inclusion, the most successful workers, are mostly non-union.  Silicon Valley has created millions of jobs while Detroit has lost them.  There is an apparent inverse relationship between unions and job creation.  in fact, the only place where unions are successful is where there is no competition - government and teaching.

    Going back to the approach of the depression will not resucitate unions.

  •  Under an EFCA regime (0+ / 0-)

    greater union membership will not necessarily result in a greater democratic vote.

    This is for a couple of reasons:

    (1)  it is not clear which way the causal relationship goes (i.e. does being in a union make you more likely to vote democratic or does being democratic make you more likely to join a union?)

    (2)  do we have data on whether private sector union households are more likely to vote democratic or is it just union households overall? (if the latter, it may be an effect of the proportion of union members who are government workers who may otherwise be more Democratic)

    (3)  as the proportion of union membership goes up, republicans will be more willing to cut deals with union leadership (some of which, but not all, will benefit union members).

  •  There were carpet-bombing us not long ago... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K Minnesota. A few months ago you could barely turn on the TV without seeing this actor playing a "goon" with an East Coast accent talking about what a great guy he thought Al Franken was. The subtext was profoundly lowbrow: Italian equals mafia equals union equals outsider Al Franken, and the goons that want to muscle in on your town hate Coleman, so vote for Coleman.

    They were weird, confusing commercials that left most people thinking "what the freakin' hell are they talking about??". I had to dig around to find out that the supposed issue was EFCA. In practice, they were just the same old GOP smear tactics, with gobs of innuendo and dog-whistle ethnic bias, and almost no basis in the real world. They talked about the Senate candidates directly, but never mentioned EFCA by name.

    With Franken hitting back hard on Coleman's vulnerabilities and closing the gap in the polls, we haven't seen those commercials now in weeks (at least I haven't), so I'm assuming the people paying for them have figured out they're not effective.

  •  Question (0+ / 0-)

    Is there any provision for allowing individual employees to opt out of the union in this or will it mandatory that everyone join?

  •  NRA Democrats (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K, tammanycall

    Barack Obama and Joe Biden need to convince middle class Americans - personified by NRA democrats - that no political party is going to take away their guns, but one political party, if left in power any longer, is going to remove their ability to buy any more ammunition.  The Republican Party has been quite gifted in taking single issues such as guns and removing that issue from the larger issue of milk, bread, eggs and butter from the kitchen table.  It is our job this year to convince middle class Americans that they cannot afford to vote against their economic interests any longer.  The rich have enough tax breaks. It is time to resurrect America's middle class of home-owning families who have the ambition to send their kids to schools and colleges so that they can enjoy a brighter future.

  •  Banana Republic-Style Elections (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K, unionsally

    It funny, the right-wingers always ask what's wrong with going through an election?

    What's wrong is the intimidation from management, the enforced on-the-job propaganda sessions, and illegal firings.

    If the U.N. came in, there'd be nothing to certify.

    Independent Illinois Grassroots:

    by patachon on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:18:38 AM PDT

    •  Democracy and free markets... (0+ / 0-)

      ...are the very last thing the Neo-Conservatives and Neo-Liberals support. They love the rhetoric of liberalism like advertisers love a pretty woman to sell their junk but they hate the substance of Liberalism, that’ why they are called Neos.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I support the Employee Free Choice Act, however, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    I believe it essential that this be coupled with outsourcing of service jobs being made illegal or at least scaled back in increments over 5 or 7 years.  To help manufactoring jobs, quotas or tariffs should be imposed again incrementally.

    If this is not done business will find more reasons to outsource even their core funtions if this act is passed without these safeguards.

    "Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

    by liberalconservative on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:29:37 AM PDT

    •  where's the solidarity? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What ever happened to worldwide labor solidarity?

      It seems like you want to preserve the rich/poor gap between this country and others. It seems like you want to preserve your own high wages, at the expense of the third world.

      I think people concerned with outsourcing should be focused on improving wages and work conditions in the poorest countries, so that there will be less incentive for companies to outsource....instead of creating more and more incentives for companies to export jobs, and then try and pass laws to prevent them.

  •  Walmart convicted of 2 million labor violations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie, Special K

    in Mn over the past 6 years.

    We need the EFCA more than ever.

    •  The destruction of regulation is also... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckhorn okie, lenzy1000

      ...on the agenda and well under way. Targeted areas besides Unions and government regulation are Social Security, public education, public health reforms, democracy, and liberalism in general.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:01:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They have been working on destroying unions... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckhorn okie

    ...all my life. Ninety percent of us would not have what we have except for the union movement.  The argument to prove that is long but valid.

    Our descendents, at this point and barring radical changes in our socioeconomic structure  built by both party's leadership and the Republican rank and file morons and backed by what Ike loosely called the Military Industrial Complex, mosty since Regan was foisted on the nation by the beltway establishment and corporate America, are doomed to slip back into a new broad lower class not seen since the Gilded Age or before.

    The biggest tool that has used to destroy unions aside from a bought off federal legislature has been George Herbert Walker Bush's New World Order which for political reasons has been morphed into the Neo-liberal and Neo-conservatives much loved and touted Globalism . Most of Middle class’s best paying labor and technical jobs have been and are beeing exported to the third world were petty dictators and corrupt officials can be counted on to keep wages at a slave wage level.

    Our current establishment is in reality no different than 18th and 19th Century imperialistic power blocks ruled the most powerful  western nations. Only the demographics have changed with the manners and means remaining the same even if masked by Neo-liberal and Neo-Conservative rhetoric and hawked by modern advertising stratagems and with a media controlled so effectively George Orwell would think it was his creation.

    Some of you will argue that Globalism cannot be reversed. Perhaps you are right, but if you are you can stick a fork in this country because it is done.

    All that remains for our establishment to do is destroy Social Security and Public Education so they can get their greedy mitts to all those government dollars (never mind that their tactics will have destroyed the value of first world currencies and the first world consumer base they now feed on) going into those programs and with no unions to thwart and fore them into a fair share of production costs they will have created a new workers paradise here to rival that of Red China and the third world Fascist states and economies. Of course the fools don't seem to realize their descendents will not survive the chaos their greed is certain to cause.

    If King Midas was served by the ideologues running our government, media and corporate structure and a hundredth of our technology he could have conquered and then destroyed the know world of his time in his own life time.    

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 11:51:46 AM PDT

  •  Workers sometimes shoot themselves in the foot... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Special K

    In my dissolute youth, I was a member of the UAW-IAM.  I think that is the alphabet anyway.  The union was the major ally that us worker bees had.

    Today, wWen I see tradesmen, construction workers, etc. who have been indoctinated by the likes of Herr Rush Limbough and Herr Sean Hannity support Republican candidates, I can only shake my head in wonder and pity these gullible souls.

    Dear God...or, since I am dyslexic, Dear Dog...please save us from our own ignorance.

    Obama/Biden '08

    May God Bless our troops wherever they are. Best regards, El Tomaso

    by El Tomaso on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 12:07:32 PM PDT

  •  I tried to start a union years ago in a place (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Special K, unionsally

    when I was young and idealistic. The owner got wind of our efforts and we were fired. We took our case to the Labor Relations Board and they sued the owner and we won and were reinstated.

    So we had the vote for the union. By now the rest of the people had been intimidated, indoctrinated and turned against us even though we had been good friends. We lost the vote. The owner then fired us again. By then I was sick of it and walked away. One friend of mine sued again and got reinstated again. Then was fired once more.

    Bottom line. The owners got what they wanted (no union) and never payed any price.

    That was many years ago. The owners of the place are multi-multi millionaires (there was also a lot of cash transactions going on also beside not paying workers the legal wage) and the conditions for the workers are still bad.

    Great system here in America. Let's keep it just like it is.

  •  As a retired Union "Boss" I say: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marcvstraianvs, Special K

    Firstly, for full disclosure - I'm a retired "Canadian" Union Staff Representative (BUT - what's happened in Canada has happened in your country as well).

    The greatest "victory" of the "right" over the last 25 years has been the destruction of the Trade Union Movement. As things now stand literally MILLIONS of MIDDLE CLASS Union "pay" jobs are GONE - never to return. It started by the "Right" succeeding in convincing non-unionized workers that Unions were anti-worker, then they created "Employer Front" Unions that lowered wages and workers rights. Next was to say to workers, "If you do not get rid of the Union we'll move to Mexico/Canada/China/etc." Then when the Unions were gone and the workers had no voice, no standing and no rights - they moved the jobs anyway.

    Success - the Unions destroyed, the middle class destroyed, the Unions as a political arm of the Democrats destroyed, the Democrats weakened. To protect their fu*king money they destroyed the economy of their own country!

    The Unions FAILED, failed terribly to EDUCATE their own members about how crucial their Union was not only to them personally but to their city, state and country.

    God willing, Obama and a resurgent "Left" can communicate to your country's workers the necessity, the right and the OBLIGATION they have to see that workers get a FAIR share of the richness of your great country. If not - well there's always a job at McDonalds - and if my wife and I and our teenages kids all work a 40 hour week there, and pool our money, who knows we might be able to afford health insurance and every decade take a weeks vacation to a local lake.

  •  Employees ALREADY Have a Choice... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRKos, oaktownadam

    They can exercise their choice by how they mark their ballots, and no one--not management or union leaders--can retaliate against them because their ballot is secret.  If Card Check is enacted then unions will KNOW which employees have not signed up, and thus can intimidate and harrass them until they do.

  •  What Wal-Mart did probably skirts the line, but (0+ / 0-)

    is still unfortunately technically legal.

  •  Thanks for this diary. I'm reading Kuttner's, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Special K

    The Squandering of America and it prompted a note to the Obama folks even though I've yet to hear from anyone there except when they request money.  Learning from Kuttner how unprogressive the SS tax is prompted my note.  I'm a bit concerned that Obama and Biden may not be progressive, only pragmatic.  That word, pragmatic, has been used a lot in the past 36 hours.  

    Convention speeches should be full of support for union organizing (A rising tide raises all boats--JFK); overturning the Medicare prescription drug bill, using the VA approach and negotiating drug costs--a great start on universal health care if that is done and SCHIP passed for all needy children; overturning the Bush tax cuts now rather than later; getting the troops home; lowering the SS tax so that regular Americans can keep more of what they earn; creating many green union jobs in alternative energies, tree planting, and road and bridge repair managed by local and state governments, not private contractors; and, raising taxes on the top 5% a whole lot.

    I'll be listening this week to all the speeches hoping to hear Democrats talk about progressive and populist ideas, rather than just "pragmatic" ideas. Such discussion and action by Dems is long over-due.

    When I have an opinion, it may be found here

    by walkabout on Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 05:28:29 PM PDT

  •  Just to remind everyone of what happened ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... in the last century.  FDR's legislative empowerment of unions saved American capitalism, so the behavior of Big Business to eliminate unions will go a long way in eventually eliminating American capitalism.  Anyone thinking that that period in history is only history should go back and read history day by day.
    I for one am sick of American capitalism.  It may have saved the "free world" for a time, but if those big boyz have their way, freedom will not be coming from this country for much longer, no matter what the idiots in the box states want to believe.  Let them have their way.  The quicker the better.

    •  actually, FDR killed unionism (0+ / 0-)

      by destroying the right of the workers to strike. That's the only power workers actually have, the power to not work. Take that away, and everything else is just window dressing.

      The NLRB empowers big, bureaucratic unions at the expense of the smaller ones, which are harder to control.

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