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So some folks will say, hey labor law sounds good, but don't the business lobbies have a point that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) proposed by labor and its supporters will undermine democracy by eliminating the secret ballot.  I'll have a post soon about how the secret ballot will be fine and more used in workplaces if EFCA passes, but let's take the basic corporate argument headon.  Under EFCA, instead of holding an election with a secret ballot, workers can also choose a union alternatively by a majority of workers signing cards asking to have their union recognized.

Horrors, the business lobby cries, weeping for the lost democratic voice of their workers (as they threaten to fire anyone who supports the union during the election), but here's the thing-- an NLRB election recognizes the union if a majority of THOSE VOTING support the union, while the card check option requires support from a majority of ALL WORKERS IN THAT COMPANY OR VOTING UNIT.  So the latter option is harder and actually is more guaranteed to reflect the will of the workers.  Follow below the fold to imagine how this would play out in a federal Presidential election.

Think of it this way, according to numbers at CNN.com, Obama won a solid victory with 66,495,305 votes across the country.  But that was out of 213,005,467 total eligible voters, so Obama received only 31.2% of those who could vote.  

Let's say their was a "card check" option for the Presidency.  First, instead of having the government set up polling places in every community and manage an election, just to get those original 66 million plus votes, the Obama campaign would have had to independently pay to send cards to each voter and do far more extensive "get out the vote" work to get those cards returned.  No depending on voters just to show up at the polls in safe states and districts.  Every voter would require individual outreach.

So just duplicating the exact numbers Obama got would be more daunting under a card check Presidential system.  But getting those same numbers would still leave the campaign short.  On top of the 66 million plus votes he received, Obama would need an additional 40,007,429 legal voters (213,005,467 divided by 2 minus Obama's election total) signing cards supporting him for President.  Which means Obama would have to reach deep into the mass of non-voters-- whether apathetic, disenchanted, dispirited Republicans, or whatever -- to get those last 40 million supporters.   The resources required for that outreach would be a level truly daunting, and even the Obama machine is grateful that the government provides the easier route of elections.  But I think unquestionably, a President who could demonstrate support from an absolute majority of all eligible voters, having 106,502,734 voters state their support for them, would have a clear democratic mandate.

The fact that unions would even want the option of card check is just a testament to how awful and unfair the NLRB election system has become (a topic for another post).    

What about "coercion of workers? Yes, business lobbies claim that unions want the option so they can "coerce" voters to sign pro-union cards.  Here's a question, since such coercion is clearly illegal under present law and unions have used card check authorized under some state laws for public workers and in negotiated cases with some employers, where is the list of convicted union organizers illegally coercing workers to sign cards?  The Bush administration would have been happy to prosecute yet there are no examples.   The union "coercion" argument is a lie and red herring to justify denying labor rights just as the right's cries of "voter fraud" is their screen for voter disenfranchisement.  

The secret ballot is a useful institution and workers will retain that right under EFCA, since 30% of workers in a worksite can always demand an election and as long as a majority of workers refuse to sign cards authorizing the union, they hold onto a right to have an election instead.    But where a majority of workers recognize that they want a union and want to avoid the employer threats and coercion that accompany an NLRB election, the right to a card check option should clearly exist and is the best way to reflect the real democratic will of workers.

Originally posted to NathanNewman on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 07:58 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's why we call it "majority sign up" (25+ / 0-)

    You're absolutely right--a card check, or majority sign up, is a more truly democratic process, reflecting the will of the majority without company coercion and interference. And under the new system, as you point out, there would be even more ways for employers to choose, whether by secret ballot or by majority signup. Thanks for a rational, well-thought out explanation.

  •  Nathan, (12+ / 0-)

    Could you please put up a tip jar?  This is an important topic and you wrote a great diary about it.  Thanks in advance.  

    "Patriotism is no more about signs or pins than religion is about reminding others how pious we think we are." -- Bob Schieffer

    by sable on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:12:33 AM PST

  •  good diary (10+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the explanation and I hope this Congress will pass the law asap. I was very concerned when none of Obamas financial crisis team represented Labor but was made up of the same old economic people who have served Wall Street for so long.

  •  right on (23+ / 0-)

    The union "coercion" argument is a lie and red herring to justify denying labor rights just as the right's cries of "voter fraud" is their screen for voter disenfranchisement.  

    This needs to be echoed wide & far.  Indeed, Rick Berman, who's leading the fight against Employee Free Choice, started attacking ACORN for "vote fraud" in 1998 - easy extrapolation of his campaign here.

    Thanks, Nathan.

  •  Interesting (14+ / 0-)

    How the Chamber of Commerce lobbies for the right to monitor employee emails one day, then claims to be protecting the so-called "secret ballott" the next.

    •  Since the CoC supports workplace democracy... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pesto, PaulVA, TomP, kyril

      I assume that their next legislative priority is to ensure that employees win the right to vote out their bosses?  Then they're going to lobby for giving workers the right to vote on layoffs and office/plant closures, right?

      You can't fool all the people all of the time, but if you fool the right ones the rest will fall in line.

      by ElMateo on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:30:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  nice one! (n/t) (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, PaulVA, ufw, sable, TomP, kyril
  •  Great diary (10+ / 0-)

    This is a great diary Nathan. Thanks for doing it. There's a lot of mis-information about Employee Free Choice Act and union formation going on, even on Daily Kos. Hopefully this helps reduce some of that.

  •  There's another great point (18+ / 0-)

    you raised in your diary.

    What about "coercion of workers? Yes, business lobbies claim that unions want the option so they can "coerce" voters to sign pro-union cards.  Here's a question, since such coercion is clearly illegal under present law and unions have used card check authorized under some state laws for public workers and in negotiated cases with some employers, where is the list of convicted union organizers illegally coercing workers to sign cards?

    While the business lobby and people like Orrin Hatch love to run around screaming about "secret ballots" they are strangely silent on the tactics that employers use to defeat organizing drives.  By that I mean captive-audience meetings, firing of employees who are sympathetic to the union, filing bogus charges with the NLRB to delay certification and a first contract, the list is long.  Union-busting is a lucrative business under present-day law.  "Secret ballots" under these conditions are about as secret as Politburo elections.  We need EFCA, legislation to bar permanent replacements, and triple damages for workers who are fired for union activity.  EFCA will level the playing field for workers.  

    "Patriotism is no more about signs or pins than religion is about reminding others how pious we think we are." -- Bob Schieffer

    by sable on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:21:22 AM PST

  •  Important issue (12+ / 0-)

    The NLRB election process, and unfair labor practice process for that matter, is broken.  It takes too long.  We need card check.  But if that gets stalled, at least we should get a faster NLRB process.

    Obama needs to push this issue despite the cries from the MSM and the right-wing echo chamber.  FDR took on the issue, and it helped solidify his base.  Increased union membership can only help the Democratic party.

    If this is a center-right country, why did the people just elect a left of center government

    by Paleo on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:25:00 AM PST

  •  American Rights At Work (7+ / 0-)

    ran a great ad about EFCA.  I hope they can run another ad that skewers the  "secret ballot" myth.

    "Patriotism is no more about signs or pins than religion is about reminding others how pious we think we are." -- Bob Schieffer

    by sable on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:25:45 AM PST

  •  Management doesn't seem bothered at all... (17+ / 0-)

    about the proxy cards that are routinely sent out to stockholders in lieu of a secret ballot.

    Nor do I hear any uproar over the lack of secrecy for initiative petition signatures as part of our democratic process.

    I am astounded more people don't recognize this cry of "protect our secret ballot" as the red herring it so obviously is.

    •  We need to frame (8+ / 0-)

      their "strawman" argument.  Let people know how undemocratic the current system is. It's a great point that you made about not hearing a peep from them about initiative signatures, stockholder elections, or vote-by-mail systems.  

      "Patriotism is no more about signs or pins than religion is about reminding others how pious we think we are." -- Bob Schieffer

      by sable on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:40:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes We Need A Good Explaination (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa, sable, kyril

        as to why secret ballots don't work in the current situation.  I realize that there has to be real good reasons but I still haven't heard specific examples on how the election process is unfair to unions. I know they are completely unfair, I just don't know how exactly.

        John McCain: GIs don't need no stinkin' college.

        by howd on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:56:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The ad campaign against Tom Allen citing (0+ / 0-)

      the lie that the EFCA removed the secret-ballot vote were extremely effective here in Maine. Add to that the the media here did virtually nothing to correct this impression.

      I wrote a lot about it at Turn Maine Blue - having never heard of card check, I have now read through the EFCA and NLRA and commentary about them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          [ Parent ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                [ Parent ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  •  THANK YOU (13+ / 0-)

    The idea that card check is undemocratic is an extremely silly notion.

    Right now employers gain undue advantages over unions and workers in the election process.  The union-busting industry stretches out the election process, management holds captive audience meetings, and organizing committee members are pressured and often fired.  What sort of democracy does that sound like?

    Meanwhile, card check is a simple process where you either sign the card or you don't.  Union organizers and fellow co-workers only have perceived "peer pressure" against other workers.  The unions can't physically assault workers (you know, it's against the law).  Unions can't fire workers or threaten to move their job overseas.  The same thing goes with fellow workers.

    Besides, card check allows the option of a secret ballot election.  As long as we keep the NLRB and the DOL funded and vigilant, abuses can be quickly stopped.

    Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

    by circlesnshadows on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:37:10 AM PST

  •  Fantastic diary. Thank you. (17+ / 0-)

    As a union organizer, I know all too well how broken the current system is.  The passage of EFCA will be a landmark moment in this nation's history.

  •  Overly Simplistic (5+ / 0-)

    Yes, coercion is illegal under the NLRA.

    But the coercion that some people are worried about is much more subtle that what is currently prohibited by the Board.  Friends will urge co-workers to sign the cards  -- which is nothing new.  The downside to the EFCA is that bypassing secret ballot elections doesn't protect against the herd mentality that is present on a lot of job sites.  The choice to authorize a union will no longer be a private one.

    •  Additionally (0+ / 0-)

      the diarist should correct this:

      Here's a question, since such coercion is clearly illegal under present law and unions have used card check authorized under some state laws for public workers and in negotiated cases with some employers, where is the list of convicted union organizers illegally coercing workers to sign cards?  The Bush administration would have been happy to prosecute yet there are no examples.

      The most egregious violations of the NLRA are unfair labor practices.  These activities are not "illegal" and violators are never "prosecuted."

      •  The kinds of "coercion" an organizer could use (13+ / 0-)

        are almost all felonies.  All the idiotic stereotypical crap -- breaking kneecaps, "nice house here, shame if something happened to it" -- that all involves serious prison time.

        A boss can fire someone, change their shift, reduce their hours, give them a shitty detail, demote them...those are incredibly serious attacks, but they're all just ULPs.  An organizer can't do anything like that to a worker, because she has no leverage.

        That's why it's so rare.

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

        by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:01:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You prove my point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollyusa, I

          There are many different ways for organizers to be "coercive" (read: persuasive) without committing unfair labor practices or felonies.  Up until now, they could only use these persuasive methods to win an election.  The EFCA, however, would allow organizers to persuade workers into actually authorizing a union -- regardless of whether it is in his/her best interest.

          •  So you just don't want organizers to exist? (10+ / 0-)

            I'm confused.  So coercion and persuasion are the same thing to you?  That's patently ridiculous.  Are we "coercing" each other in this discussion?

            Here are things I actually did as an organizer, organizing nurses:

            Arrange meetings between RNs who were in the union and RNs at unorganized hospitals, so the unorganized RNs could ask what the union was like from the member's perspective.

            Show unorganized RNs language from contracts at organized hospitals.

            Ask them what issues they had at work (that's most of a meeting) and discuss how they've handled it; ask if they've stood up to the boss in the past, how that worked out;  talk about similar fights at union hospitals, and what union RNs had accomplished.

            Answered whatever questions folks threw at me about unions in general, the union I worked for, etc.

            Later on in the campaign, I'd recruit folks to be on the organizing committee (the group of union activists, from across the hospital, leading the campaign), call folks constantly ("How are things going?  Did you see the leaflet the hospital put out?  Is Jen wearing her pin?") and ask them to do the things I listed above.

            Would you call any of that "coercion"? If so, why?

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

            by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:41:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are trained to keep on them until they agree. (0+ / 0-)

              I used to be an organizer, too.  We were taught that people find it much more difficult to say "No" than "Yes".  We were taught to keep pressing each person until we got a "Yes" or a firm "No".

              These are not oppressive, by any means, but they are coercive, because you're pressuring someone to do something they're not inclined to do.

              •  Pestering (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nilocjin

                Being asked 5 times by an organizer to leaflet on Monday morning, until you'll finally say either "yes" or "no", is in no way, shape or form the same as being fired for leafleting on Monday.

                I used to tell people, "It's my job to be a pain in the ass."  Pestering is not coercing.

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

                by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:01:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are being disingenuous. (0+ / 0-)

                  You know perfectly well that if you just keep talking to a person day after day, week after week, a certain portion of them will eventually sign a card just to get you off their backs.  That's the main reason professional organizers exist.  Workplace union activists don't have the time to drive to people's houses every day and rate them on a 1-to-4 scale.

                  Job loss is not the only form of coercion that exists.

                  •  No, I don't know that (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Special K, nilocjin

                    It sounds to me like the person who trained you didn't really know what they were doing.

                    That's not how my coworkers or I organized, and that's no way to build an actual union.  Even if you can somehow get that card, that person will flip sooner or later (probably sooner), and won't be part of the union in the long run.  

                    And even if it were the case that that worked, it's still asinine to compare pestering to the serious threats that bosses can make against workers.

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

                    by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:11:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This was taught to me at all levels. (0+ / 0-)

                      Including at an SEIU organizing training at headquarters in DC.

                      •  Hard cards vs. soft cards? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pesto, I

                        I don't know how the SEIU does it... But I was never trained to pester someone into signing a card.  Having a signed card is far different than receiving a yes vote; as we know, cards don't vote.  Hence the designation "hard cards" and "soft cards"--a card signed simply through pestering an employee is a soft card and not something to be sought.

                        •  Oh, these cards are as soft as soft can be. (0+ / 0-)

                          Which is exactly why I am opposed to this change in law.  If you can get people to agree to join the union simply by brow-beating them, then
                          (A) that is not democratic
                          (B) far more importantly, it is a recipe for failure and disillusionment.  Just ask the folks I helped organize at a certain hospital who barely won their certification vote and, 2 years later, were still negotiating their first contract.

                          Labor needs to come up with better ideas for success than, "Let's get the government to make it easier on us."

                          •  Ask the people I organized... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...at a van depot in Savannah, GA.  We won the election by 3 votes, and after winning an extremely favorable first contract, and now participation within the newly-minted local is through the roof.  Fringe scenarios work both ways!

                            EFCA certainly isn't perfect, but it appears to be a whole helluva lot better than what we've got now.

          •  I think (5+ / 0-)

            I think that workers have a pretty good sense of "what's good for them" and that getting over 50% of them to agree to something against their best interests is a rare thing indeed.

            I don't understand what seems to be a very paternalistic attitude towards people. But I could just be reading you wrong.

            Also, if workers decide a union isn't in their best interest they can vote to de-certify, which happens with regularity.

          •  Section 1 of the National Labor Relations Act (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, nilocjin, sable, math4barack

            The US Government is supposed to encourage collective bargaining, according to the terms of its own law:

            It is declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.

          •  Card check is a currntly one of the three (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, nilocjin

            ways that unions can be formed (a secret-ballot vote and calling a successful strike the other two) - the EFCA does not change any of that.

            What it does do is remove the right of OWNERS to demand a vote if card check is used and gives it to EMPLOYEES. It also mandates that ownership sit down with an arbitrator soon after the union is formed to hammer out a contract - something that does not occur now.

            And as I've written elsewhere - Sec. 4 increase fines and penalties levied against management for illegal anti-union busting.

            •  That's not true (0+ / 0-)

              card checks alone have never established unions.  Your statement that the card check will establish a union unless the employer asks for a vote is disingenuous.  Even when presented with the authorization cards, the employer can choose to do nothing.

        •  Coercion will come when your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollyusa

          co-workers stand around while you're given a card that can be read by everyone present and not present on whether you support or don't support a union.  "So Joe? you going to back us or not?"

          I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

          by thestructureguy on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:23:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This happens a dozen times before an election (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Special K

            "Did you sign a union card (to file for the election)?  Did you come to the organizing meeting?  Did you leaflet?  Did you take a leaflet?  Did you call me back when I called you about leafleting?  Did you wear a button?  Did you sign the "We're voting UNION YES!" petition?"

            This is part of the process of organizing, whatever voting method you use.  This is a group decision -- the group always knows where 99% of the group members stand on it.

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

            by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:04:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you get that much support from everyone then (0+ / 0-)

              you don't have a problem.  

              I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

              by thestructureguy on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:57:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not about support and opposition (0+ / 0-)

                My point is that everyone knows pretty much who's voting No and who's voting Yes, even before they go into the booth.  Everything is out in the open in a Board election - the "private decision in the voting booth" is a fantasy.

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

                by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:16:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  exactly.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollyusa, worldwideellen, Sanuk

      peer pressure is a much more insidious form of coercion.  The choice needs to remain private.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:52:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "No longer private" (13+ / 0-)

      It's not private now, Appstate, nor should it be.  It's not private when 75 workers are outside the gates handing out "I'm voting UNION YES!" buttons; it's not private when people are signing the "We're voting UNION YES!" petition; it's not private when 1 person from your unit is fired because they support the union, and the 10 coworkers you have left in the unit come to you to talk about going into your boss's office -- together -- to tell her off and say that none of you are going to be intimidated.

      All organizing is about peer pressure.  That's what Obama's ground campaign was about, that's what a house meeting about the union is about -- it's even what the anti-union campaign is about.

      Workers in solidarity aren't animals in a "herd" as you put it.  They're people expressing their humanity and demanding to be treated with dignity.

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

      by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:57:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People may (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa, worldwideellen

        certainly show their support publicly.  

        But what if they choose not to do so?  Should they be entitled to make a private vote not to certify?  Or should organizers be allowed to approach them and ask for a decision on-the-spot?

        •  "Maybe" means "no" (9+ / 0-)

          Any organizer worth his or her salt knows exactly how every single worker will vote going into the election. It's not rocket science.  You talk to people a few times a week (yes, every. single. worker.).  If they stop taking your calls, or won't call you back, or suddenly clam up on the phone...they're voting no.

          You push them to do things to test where they stand -- sign the card/petition for the election, come to an organizing meeting, wear a button, leaflet, get a coworker to come to a meeting, testify at the Board, provide a quote for a newsletter or leaflet...people who do those things are voting for the union.  People who don't, aren't.

          The organizers will know, and your coworkers will know.  I suppose you could lie to everyone, one way or another, but it's really, really rare.  Ask anyone who's been through a union election, either as a worker or an organizer.   Organizing is not some private, individual decision -- it's a group decision, and the whole group that's involved will know what's going on.  And both sides, by the way, do these assessments -- bosses have 1-on-1s to pressure and abuse, and also too assess workers.

          That's how it works in the real world, right now.  The only exception would be public sector organizing where, in many cases, the boss just don't fight it.  But in the private sector, and some public sector (like at universities, often) it's already all out there.  The only question is whether bosses should be allowed to butt into the workers' decision.

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

          by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:35:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One thing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, Elana Levin of UNITE HERE

            Actually, while everything Pesto says about how the organizing process workers is spot-on, it should be noted that your decision to since a union card is yours alone and that the cards themselves are kept private, especially from the employer, who is the one who is going to be threatening one's working conditions and possibly firing you.

            That's the real coercion. The card check system keeps the vote secret much longer than the NLRB system does.

          •  I'll add that union organization MUST take place (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, Special K

            off-hours, while management can lobby against unionization during work time - and they do.

            •  Not entirely true (0+ / 0-)

              If the workers are allowed to discuss non-work-related topics (football, their kids, etc) at work then they're also allowed to discuss the union.  Legally speaking, that it.

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

              by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:06:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        it IS private when you get into the voting booth.

        you're much less likely to be influenced by peer pressure when you're alone then when your vote can be seen by everyone.

        obama wouldn't have won north carolina if the election were held in a style similar to what EFCA is proposing.

    •  My God, friends also (7+ / 0-)

      influence choices for President.  As for herd mentality, workers are not cattle.

      I fundamentally disagree with you.

      "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

      by TomP on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:50:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unions are dead anyway.. (5+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    pollyusa, Appstate, missreporter, I, JeremiahFP
    Hidden by:
    Paleo, PaulVA, WisCheez

    This is the last dying gasp of a dinosaur.

    Passing EFCA will be the end of the American worker as we know it.  And, I think even a Democratic Congress will recognize that, most especially in these hard times for workers and businesses alike.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:50:14 AM PST

  •  I've seen those commercials... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, PaulVA, sable, kyril

    for 'secret' elections from obviously non-union groups.  I knew there was something fishy about it, but didn't know what it was.  Thanks for a diary that helps to explain that.

    Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change government. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:53:12 AM PST

  •  Count me unpersuaded. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollyusa, worldwideellen, Sanuk, I

    There have been studies on whether or not Labor resorts to intimidation to obtain cards.  The conclusion seems to be that Labor opts for intimidation less than Management. But that doesn't mean intimidation doesn't occur.

    You can make clever arguments-- the only real protection of the average worker is the ability to vote in secret.

    The solution to Management intimidation is a properly funded and staffed NLRB with expedited elections, faster processing of unfair labor practice charges, and punitive damages that chill bad behavior by Management...not denying voter privacy.

    There's no doubt that Labor faces substantial headwinds in organizing workplaces-- but cutting corners on workers' rights is not the way to go.

    •  Putting Humpty Dumpty back together (8+ / 0-)

      The problem with the Board is that they're completely reactive -- and what they're reacting to is a concerted effort by the boss, led by the union-busters, to attack the workers and destroy their ability to organize.

      I suppose you could create an enforcement regime that would deter that, but it would have to be extreme:  criminal penalties for individual managers who commit ULPs, and a Labor Police force you could call at the time the ULP takes place, in addition to treble damages.  Short of that, you're left with a situation in which the boss gets to abuse people and destroy the union, and the Board comes by a while later.

      There have been studies on whether or not Labor resorts to intimidation to obtain cards.  The conclusion seems to be that Labor opts for intimidation less than Management. But that doesn't mean intimidation doesn't occur.

      What kind of intimidation?  An organizer can't threaten to fire someone, or demote them, or put them on night shift, or move the plant to Mexico.  Bosses do that stuff all the time.  How do you think organizers are "coercing" people?

      There's no doubt that Labor faces substantial headwinds in organizing workplaces-- but cutting corners on workers' rights is not the way to go.

      If workers want to file for an election, they can still do that under EFCA.  But the real point here is that workers have a human right to organize.  The boss should have absolutely nothing to say about it whatsoever.  Bosses in the US have proven utterly unwiling and/or unable to butt out and leave workers alone to make this decision, and card-check has proven to be the best way to protect the right of workers to make this collective decision in peace and without intimidation or interference.

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

      by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:19:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I respectfully disagree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        I suppose you could create an enforcement regime that would deter that, but it would have to be extreme:  criminal penalties for individual managers who commit ULPs, and a Labor Police force you could call at the time the ULP takes place, in addition to treble damages.

        Done. Many states have civil liability for individual managers for, for example, discrimination law violations.  And I have no problem with an energetic DOL.  Effective enforcement would be normative in the long term.

        What kind of intimidation?  An organizer can't threaten to fire someone, or demote them, or put them on night shift, or move the plant to Mexico.  Bosses do that stuff all the time.  How do you think organizers are "coercing" people?

        How about the distribution of a flier with a dissident's name on it, defaming that employee and encouraging his/her "freezing out"?  How about people showing up on doorsteps?  I've seen both.  

        If workers want to file for an election, they can still do that under EFCA.  

        Not immediately.  And very publically.

        A boss should have absolutely nothing to say about [organizing] whatsoever.

        The First Amendment guarantees them the right to say what they wish.  

        •  Some replies (4+ / 0-)

          If your solution is criminal (not civil, criminal) liability and the creation of the Labor Police, then you're not serious about solving this problem.  Card check exists throughout Canada, and hundreds of thousands of American workers have organized with card-check over the last few years.  This is a workable and working system.  A Labor Police Force doesn't exist anywhere, and would be an enormous undertaking.

          On "freezing out" -- yeah, I've seen workers do that to each other.  I've never seen an actual union leaflet doing that, but in an election it would probably be a ULP, and would probably invalidate a union victory in an election.  Pretty moronic.  And "showing up on doorsteps" -- in what context?  If it's a threat, then that's already a felony.  Call the cops.  If the "anti-union committee" does it, you can call the cops, too!  If it's not, then suck it up.  Either talk to them or keep the door closed.  None of that is fun for the person in question, but it's not the same as losing your job and your health insurance when you get fired.  And that stuff can come from both sides -- the firings and demotions etc. can only come from the boss.  

          If workers want to file for an election, they can still do that under EFCA.  

          Not immediately.  And very publically.

          No -- you just sign cards or a petition calling for an election.  Election-only cards can't be used to claim recognition.

          A boss should have absolutely nothing to say about [organizing] whatsoever.

          The First Amendment guarantees them the right to say what they wish.  

          Yup -- corporations are people, too.  They have the right to do all kinds of evil things.  So, since we can't make it illegal, we can basically take them out of the process by letting workers make this decision on their own.

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

          by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:54:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, with respect, I disagree. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pollyusa, I

            If your solution is criminal (not civil, criminal) liability and the creation of the Labor Police, then you're not serious about solving this problem.  

            Unless you're tying prison sentences to these proposed "criminal" violations, the civil/criminal distinction is minimal (as the end result in both cases is some sort of monetary loss) and I'd probably argue in favor of civil liability anyway.

            Card check exists throughout Canada, and hundreds of thousands of American workers have organized with card-check over the last few years. This is a workable and working system.  

            The American experience is mostly through neutrality agreements by which an incoming union gives up key economic weapons (like the ability to strike) for a place at the table.  Ask yourself why employers enter into these agreements.  (I know why-- because I'm frequently in that Management caucus.)  No thanks.

            The firings and demotions etc. can only come from the boss.

            The argument here is not that the respective sides' weapons are equal.  The argument here is that intimidation will occur.  And you admit as much.  I'd rather make secret ballot work.

            No -- you just sign cards or a petition calling for an election.  Election-only cards can't be used to claim recognition.

            This entirely overlooks the way the card signing takes place.  If there's pressure to sign, there's pressure to sign an authorization card-- not an election-only card.  And once the Union is recognized, there's a bar on new elections.

            Yup -- corporations are people, too.  They have the right to do all kinds of evil things.  So, since we can't make it illegal, we can basically take them out of the process by letting workers make this decision on their own.

            Alright, this type of thinking drives me crazy.  

            Let me say it:  You can't be anti-corporation and pro-job.  You can make your enemies faceless for rhetorical purposes, I suppose-- but most business owners want to be a position to hire more and pay more to workers.  It suggests a business that is succeeding. They don't wake up thinking about how to hose their employees.

            That said, my businesses feel strongly that unionization won't work for them (rightly and wrongly).  If you think that EFCA is going to prevent Management's involvement from organizing efforts, I have a couple meetings I can invite you to right now.  Management is already preparing for the new landscape.  The only folks set to be squeezed are workers.

            •  So you work for/with bosses who oppose unions (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Trapper John, Special K

              Fine.  Sounds to me like you oppose EFCA because you oppose workers organizing.

              And I know that EFCA would be the greatest thing imaginable for the union-busting industry.  I'm sure they've already got their, "You cant WAIT until you hear the word UNION to start educating your workers!!!!!" pamphlets and power-points and emails all ready to go.  Every union-buster in the country will immediately suggest a full-scale, 24/7/365 preventative war against workers to keep them down.  Very, very profitable work for the parasites.

              most business owners want to be a position to hire more and pay more to workers.  It suggests a business that is succeeding. They don't wake up thinking about how to hose their employees.

              Most really big corporations aren't run by some plucky owner who sunk his own sweat and savings into the enterprise.  They're run by professional bosses and a big army of mid-managerial bureaucrats, who often have a shorter and shallower relationship to the enterprise than the workers they're attacking.  And those folks seem to me to spend most of their time thinking about (a) their authority (b) their bureaucratic goals and (c) not getting fired for pissing off their boss, not about creating jobs or helping employees.

              As far as pay is concerned, the fact that workers in unions are paid so much more than similar, non-union workers suggests that managerial pride in a well-paid workforce has its limits - and the limits are often below where the workers want them, or where they need to be for the company to succeed.

              Let me say it:  You can't be anti-corporation and pro-job.

              Let me say this: You can't be anti-union and pro-worker.

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

              by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:43:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Investigate the busters (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pesto, Special K

                There should be a full-scale congressional investigation into the union busting industry.  There was talk of this during Clinton's first two years but it never materialized.  

                You can't fool all the people all of the time, but if you fool the right ones the rest will fall in line.

                by ElMateo on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:47:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks to both of you (0+ / 0-)

                  For this informative give and take.  Seriously.  I really enjoyed the point-counterpoing.

                  Much more enjoyable than the personality-driven diaries that too often dominate the rec list.

                •  What is there to investigate exactly? (0+ / 0-)
                  •  for starters (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pesto, Special K
                    1. Whether public money is paying for union busting,
                    1. the extent to which union busters advise employers to break the law during union drives,
                    1. Whether rackets like the center for union facts deserves tax exempt status

                    You can't fool all the people all of the time, but if you fool the right ones the rest will fall in line.

                    by ElMateo on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 11:21:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The answers. (0+ / 0-)
                      1. Little, if any.
                      1. A good amount.  But they're agents of employers and therefore accountable for their misdeeds.
                      1. Why not?
                      •  congressional investigation (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pesto, ElMateo, nyr2k2

                        I worked for a congressional committee in the early 1980s that held lengthy hearings on the misdeeds of the anti-union consultant industry, their failure to obey labor laws, and the Reagan administration's failure to enforce the laws.  

                        Reagan even appointed an anti-union consultant (Tim Ryan of the Master Printers) to the Department of Labor where he had oversight of a pending investigation of ... himself.

                        I am sure he carefully investigated himself before dismissing he investigation of himself.

                        The Congressional investigations were called "Pressures in Today's Work Place" and "Oversight Hearings on the Landrum Griffin Act."

                        The anti-union industry destroys work place democracy as effciently as the poll tax and voter qualification tactics thwarted democracy in the Old South.

                        Folks that call for enforcement of labor laws as a substitute for EFCA don't recognize the degree to which secret ballot elections have been corroded by anti-union tactics; intense propaganda, firings, retaliation, surveilance, and so on.

                        •  question for you (0+ / 0-)

                          Do you think another round of hearings would be useful?  I was envisioning hearings that actually lead to some substantive law changes.

                          You can't fool all the people all of the time, but if you fool the right ones the rest will fall in line.

                          by ElMateo on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:57:55 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

                            Especially in light of the wide range of opinions demonstrated in this thread, maybe the best way to kick off the EFCA legislation would be with congressional hearings that included horror stories about the destruction of work place democracy.

                      •  Little, if any? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pesto

                        Working in the transportation sector, I can tell you without question that a TON of public money is spent on union busting.  That is a fact.

              •  More dishonesty. (0+ / 0-)

                Fine.  Sounds to me like you oppose EFCA because you oppose workers organizing.  And I know that EFCA would be the greatest thing imaginable for the union-busting industry.

                Let's just say that my personal interests lie in EFCA's passage.  My understanding of the marketplace suggests against it.  That said, this preface is just an ad hominem attack.

                Most really big corporations aren't run by some plucky owner who sunk his own sweat and savings into the enterprise.

                Most "really big" corporation aren't.  But most corporations are.  And you're proposing a national solution.  If you want to organize Wal-Mart, fine.  But index EFCA by employer-size.  Or make secret ballot work.

                As far as pay is concerned, the fact that workers in unions are paid so much more than similar, non-union workers suggests that managerial pride in a well-paid workforce has its limits - and the limits are often below where the workers want them, or where they need to be for the company to succeed.

                I am shocked-- shocked-- that workers would, by in large, like to be paid more.  So would I. Sadly, EFCA does nothing to shield an employer from the marketplace.  And, again, your proposing a grand approach to what should be a targetted reform.

                Let me say this: You can't be anti-union and pro-worker.

                I'm not against unions or corporations-- they're both market actors created by law with legitimate purposes.  Actually, you know that. I argued for a better secret ballot process upthread. I'm against Labor-Management collusion at the expense of workers (see Neutrality Agreements) and anybody being intimidated out of their legal right to freely choose whether to work in a unionized setting.  Surely, you can allow there's a difference.

                •  It's not an ad hominem (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Trapper John, Special K

                  It's my impression that, despite your caveats, you simply don't really want workers to organize.  That's based on your hints about your job -- you work for Morgan, Lewis, or something? -- and your comments about just cause guarantees hurting businesses, and businesses being destroyed by overpaid employees protected by union contracts, and about the intrinsic generosity of bosses.

                  I mention it because there's a difference between discussing the labor movement and labor law with someone who wants workers to organize, and discussing those things with someone who doesn't.

                  On your other points, please get to specifics about "mak[ing] secret ballot work."  Would you or your clients be okay with, say, letting the workers or union determine the bargaining unit unilaterally to prevent idiotic foot-dragging by the boss?  Would you be okay with guaranteed access to the bosses' property for union organizers?  Would you be okay with a much, much more intrusive NLRB, that could send agents to worksites in response to workers' calls, and issue decisions and fines on-site (subject to appeal, like being pulled over for speeding)?

                  None of that stuff is going to happen in a million years.  Your clients do not want the government running all over their property, fining them for ULPs.  But maybe you have other ideas that would cut bosses out of the workers' decision on organizing, have a track-record of working similar to card-check, and would end with some kind of secret ballot.

                  I'm not against unions or corporations-- they're both market actors created by law with legitimate purposes.

                  Well, I'm for workers and for unions.  It's not something to claim agnosticism about.

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

                  by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 11:25:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Just a skeptic. (0+ / 0-)

                    It's my impression that, despite your caveats, you simply don't really want workers to organize.

                    An ad hominem argument:

                    consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

                    If I stipulate over and over again that I think unions has a productive role to play in the marketplace and I make arguments for a fairer playing field for unions (as opposed to the currently unfair playing field) and you respond by discarding my arguments as simply the Management line-- then it might just be an ad hominem argument.  But fine.

                    On your other points, please get to specifics about "mak[ing] secret ballot work."

                    Already have, upthread.

                    Would you or your clients be okay with, say, letting the workers or union determine the bargaining unit unilaterally to prevent idiotic foot-dragging by the boss?

                    Nope, but I would sign off on an accelerated schedule for such determinations.

                    Well, I'm for workers and for unions.  It's not something to claim agnosticism about.

                    Its not agnosticism that I'm professing.  Its just that its more complicated than you're suggesting.

                    Would you be okay with guaranteed access to the bosses' property for union organizers?  

                    Nope. Its private property.

                    Would you be okay with a much, much more intrusive NLRB, that could send agents to worksites in response to workers' calls, and issue decisions and fines on-site (subject to appeal, like being pulled over for speeding)?

                    Sure.  If you parse between violations that do not require intent and violations that do require intent.  

                  •  And (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Linnaeus, Pesto, Special K

                    I think for a lot of us, it's impossible to imagine progressivism as not being inexorably tied to trade unionism. Progressives who don't actively support unions are like, I dunno, progressives against gay rights.  They're out there, but they're odd ducks, and you get they feeling that don't quite get what it's all about.

  •  Question: What problem is being solved? (3+ / 0-)

    Why does labor want this? Is it a cost issue -- that elections might be more costly?

    You write that it is avoiding the the threats and coercion that accompany NLRB elections. Have their been prosecutions for that conduct? I'm just wondering because you assume that there is no labor-side coercion, based on the premise that you are unaware of any prosecutions for such coercion.

    So, I ask the question, because it seems to that your argument is based on a flawed premise. If, in fact, there have been no such prosecutions, that would not be convincing evidence that no such coercion occurs.

    Now, of course, normally one wouldn't be concerned about coercion that creates a union -- it just doesn't seem a big social ill -- except that some unions represent organized crime as much as they represent the workers. So, the possibility that workers may be coerced by organized crime -- it's easy to imagine how effective such coercion would be -- that is a compelling argument for management.

    Then, of course, there's the argument that elections serve a useful purpose in that they create the dynamics and forum to debate the issues involved -- which a card check might not do. There are reasons why labor wants this, and they're not just about avoiding management threats.

    Let's leave that aside, because it's probably true that the number one concern for labor is that would-be union organizers often get fired. Even the perception of that threat is a serious obstacle to unionizing.

    Which leads me to ask questions I really don't know the answer to:

    Does the card-check system really eliminate the threat of management retaliation? If it doesn't that leads me to ask what purpose it does serve. If it does, that answers itself -- except that I'd like to understand how so.

    Since management is making an issue of card checks, is there a way to create a system like card check -- one that is insulated from management pressure -- but also has built in safeguards. I don't know if it's possible to have anonymity -- or whether that just opens up the possibility of fraud. Are the cards anonymous? If not, how are workers protected from coercion AND retaliation on both sides? If they are anonymous, how does the system prevent fraud?

    I ask because I don't know....

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:59:27 AM PST

    •  The quick answer... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zeke L, Joe Bob, Pesto, Subversive, sable

      ...is that Management intimidation will not be going away.  Management will find a way to "educate" folks about the implications of unionism.

      •  Please give a longer answer (4+ / 0-)

        I still don't understand the advantages of the card check system. I'm inclined to support in personally, if labor wants it as a second option, but I don't understand it or why it's superior, and I need to understand that to have intelligent conversations with people who oppose this.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:28:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Me, too... (0+ / 0-)

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:10:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  NLRB elections are rife with boss abuse (4+ / 0-)

          Workers in this country are largely at the mercy of their bosses when they're at work (and, more and more, off the job, too).  The Board election process takes usually 6 weeks from filing to holding the election -- during that time, the boss has basically free reign to make everyone's lives miserable.  They require workers to attend "captive audience" meetings (leave and you're fired -- it's a work assignment) full of propaganda and scare-tactics.  

          Managers meet with union busters to go over each supervisee and prepare a strategy:  Lucy is a single mom?  Great.  Hammer her on health insurance.  Then the manager calls Lucy in for a meeting -- again, Lucy can't say "no" because that's insubordination -- and hears 45 minutes about how voting for the union means her kids will get sick and die.  Or about how the manager will get fired if the workers vote for the union -- do you want me to get fired, Lucy, after I was nice to you about taking leave when your son was sick?

          Then the boss will pick off a few union leaders and fire them, or put them on night shift.  Bosses will spy on workers, filming them if they leaflet (illegal, but so what?), or when they go to a union meeting off-site.  Then the rumors will start about how the union will force you out on strike and you'll lose your house and your health insurance.  And if the folks are licensed professionals, like RNs, about how they'll all lose their licenses.  All lies, but so what?  There's a union to bust.

          All this time, the boss can drag things out at the Board.  You can have 3 months of hearings about exactly which workers should be involved in the election, for instance.  The longer it goes on, the more miserable the workers get in the face of the anti-union campaign.  The idea is to brutalize the workers so that they regret ever even thinking of speaking up and standing up for themselves and each other.

          And if the workers vote after all this to organize a union, the boss can file objections to the election to get it overturned.  They can appeal all the way to the NLRB in DC -- a process that takes 12 to 18 months.  All this time, there are no negotiations, just workers getting disgusted and deciding to quit.

          So that's the atmosphere of an average NLRB election.  It can get much, much worse than that.  It's not an atmosphere that lends itself to rational consideration and respectful debate.  Bosses treat it as a prison uprising -- the goal is to put it down and make sure it never happens again.

          Unions have used card-check in the US and Canada (where it's the universal method of organzing) for years -- the sky hasn't fallen yet.  It's a proven system for letting the workers make their own decision without interference by the boss, and without inviting the destructive terror sponsored by the union busters.

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

          by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:28:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  my experience is the opposite of this (12+ / 0-)

      Then, of course, there's the argument that elections serve a useful purpose in that they create the dynamics and forum to debate the issues involved -- which a card check might not do.

      The card-check process in my workplace was interaction- and discussion-based, and provided the organizational foundation to get the union up and running. Once my employer signed a neutrality agreement, the card-check process fueled open debate and discussion about the union and our unit's contractual needs.

      in a crisis, we must have a sense of drama

      -- MLK

      by missreporter on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:29:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: The organized crime thing. (0+ / 0-)

      Unless I'm mistaken, any association that organized crime continues to have with unions happens at the level of finance (pension funds, for example).  And even that is probably not true anymore.  The days of mob thugs bullying people into joining the union are well over.

      However, there is other coercion that goes on from unions and, though it's much less violent and scary, it still exists.  They use psychology now more than muscle.  As I said elsewhere, organizers are trained that most people would prefer not to say "No", so if you just keep hammering on them, eventually they'll sign the card.

  •  Any vote should be done by (5+ / 0-)

    secret ballet just like everything else we vote for.

    •  congress doesn't vote by secret ballot (9+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pesto, Spud1, PaulVA, Special K, jct, sable, TomP, kyril, dirkangel

      nor do delegates at political conventions, your town council, etc.

      jury selection and military conscription are also not done by secret ballot, but by sortition, and both are democratic processes.

      plus, as pointed out above, the "secret ballot votes" on whether to unionize are done in an environment about as democratic as the old USSR. and it's very questionable how "secret" they are, to boot.

      unless you really did mean vote by "secret ballet, " which sounds like something from an art film, so carry on.

      when you finish, strive again
      and in your lord, aspire

      by zeke L on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:26:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yeah - they are all about democracy at work (12+ / 0-)

    ...don't the business lobbies have a point that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) proposed by labor and its supporters will undermine democracy by eliminating the secret ballot.

    Employers opposed to unions are not in the least interested in worker's democratic rights to organize and speak freely. Any employer who doesn't want a union can prevent it. It's easy. Workers must be determined and kind of crazy to go through the process of forming their union. I went to work as a union organizer for a non-profit after I had been fired for insubordination. After the year long process I went looking for a job in my town in my field and I couldn't get a job anywhere - until I applied in the town 50 miles away. It took one day to get hired. Blackballed by a non-profit?

    Feudal system = the owner owns your job and you work at will.
    Democracy = you join a union that elects its leaders and you participate in decisions at meetings.

    CHANGE GOV Office of the President Elect http://change.gov

    by mrobinson on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:05:44 AM PST

  •  Card check is a pretty obvious benefit (15+ / 0-)

    for everybody except those who like lower wages and benefits.

    A fundamental rule of efficient markets is costless bargaining. The ability to organize workers is one of the most important checks on the asymmetric information and time horizon advantages of corporations over individual people.

    •  Unionization is not one size fits all. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollyusa, Spud1

      There are some companies where unionization just doesn't make sense.  Its not as simple as you present it to be.

      •  um... (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaulVA, Big Tex, jct, sable, TomP, kyril

        Duh? I'm not sure how to respond here. Of course it's not one size fits all. That's the point of voting. One person can't form a union. It takes a majority.

      •  that's true (9+ / 0-)

        and it's the employees of those companies best equipped to make that determination.

        when you finish, strive again
        and in your lord, aspire

        by zeke L on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:32:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollyusa

          No one disagrees with you.

          I'd just as soon let employees make their choice in private, particularly in smaller prospective bargaining units.

          The question here isn't whether letting workers decide is a good thing.  The question here is how best to effectuate their will.

          The original post in this string suggested that opposition to card check means opposition to better wages-- and that's a gross simplification.

          •  so will you explain that? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Big Tex, kyril

            opposition to card check means opposition to better wages

            What reasons are there to oppose the EFCA, and card check in particular, except those reasons motivated by a desire to restrict wages and benefits?

            I find the assertion that there are other reasons very interesting, and I would like to know the basis of that belief.

            •  Wages and benefits are only one aspect... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pollyusa

              ...of the "bargain" occasioned by a unionized workplace.

              The second order effects of unionization are often much more crippling for fledgling businesses, including the ability to hold workers truly accountable [given the near uniformity of progressive discipline in all union contracts] and the inability to maintain flexibility to meet the dictates of the business cycle.  There's also the issue of work rules (which in many cases are good for worker safety but in other cases hamper efficiency unnecessarily).

              EFCA will certainly increase unionization.  And that, on balance, makes for good policy (and higher wages/ better benefits for some segments of the economy)-- but it will hurt some smaller employers and strangle some businesses in the beds.  The worker with a job at a defunct company will not appreciate your straight line correlation between card check and higher wages.

              I would just prefer that the wisdom of these businesses' workers be exercised without undue influence by either side.  

              •  so you don't trust workers? (0+ / 0-)

                This is essentially a core talking point of U Chicago economists, authoritarian corporatists, laissez-faires, or whatever you want to call them. I don't know if you realize this?

                We can't trust workers to vote on unionization, because they might make a union, and then the union they make might run the company into the ground.

                Some version of that scare mongering is raised every time unions, and worker rights in general, are discussed.

  •  AMEN! (13+ / 0-)

    Among other things card check could break the hold certain businesses (cough, Walmart) have against unions...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:17:34 AM PST

  •  Two questions: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd, Spud1, PaulVA, sable, kyril
    1.  What's the name of the nut on Fox News who has been relentlessly promoting this garbage about the evils of card check?
    1.  About employer coercion and intimidation under NLRB voting, can anyone point me to a source that covers this, provides actual examples and talks about how that happens and how widespread it is?

    The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place -- in cities all over America -- Frank Rich

    by Mother of Zeus on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:18:40 AM PST

  •  Get rid of "right to work", not secret ballot (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollyusa, Big Tex, I, thestructureguy

    I can't image a reason not to have secret ballots.  

    Frankly both industry and the unions want laws so that the system favors them.

    Industry wants "right to work" which significantly diminishes the ability of unions to successfully bargain.  States pass such laws in a race to bottom in an attempt to get businesses to move in.

    Unions want to get rid of secret ballot because things have not always gone well for them.  If they consistently did a good job for their workers they would have nothing to fear from a secret ballot.  And indeed if 50% of workers really do support them, then they have nothing to fear from a secret ballot.

    Lets so no to either side trying to game the system.  Allow unions the right to propose contracts requiring union membership -- so you don't have free-loaders benefiting from the unions without actually paying dues.  And allow workers secret ballot on whether or not they want the union in the first place.

  •  Thank You for this diary! (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, PaulVA, sable, TomP, WisCheez, kyril

    When I heard Orrin Hatch complaining about ending the secret ballot, I should have known that he was 100% false...

    Traditional media is too busy trying to be "fair" rather than correct.

  •  Great diary. (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, Spud1, PaulVA, sable, WisCheez, kyril, math4barack

    We need EFCA, now more than ever.

    "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

    by TomP on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:43:44 AM PST

  •  I have a much better idea. (0+ / 0-)

    Make voting in Presidential elections a mandatory duty of citizenship. If you don't vote, you don't get government handouts or benefits, and you are ineligible to receive government-funded grants or contracts.

    I imagine that we would see a very small percentage of people blow it off if their government checks or grants depended on them doing their damned duty once every four years.

    President Barack Obama!

    by kate mckinnon on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 09:47:39 AM PST

  •  Do Unions still have any (0+ / 0-)

    utility in the private sector?  Strong ones tend to tank companies and weal ones seem to do nothing but collect dues.  Are there any that work?  Thoughts?

  •  Bravo... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, PaulVA, Special K, sable, TomP, kyril

    ...the response to "we need a secret ballot" is very simply.  Yes, workers can always request a secret ballot if they want it.  Currently, it's the EMPLOYER that can demand a secret ballot as a way to demand the unionization process.

    I'm afraid that this will be a bloody fight.  But I think it's worth it.  In interest of full disclosure, I am an attorney who works with many labor unions.

  •  You have it a little wrong: card check has been (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, PaulVA, Special K, sable, kyril, JeremiahFP

    in use for years, and in fact was ruled constitutional by the SCOTUS way back in 1969. If card check is used to form a union, it is ownership that can demand a secret-ballot election, and they almost always do. This process can take years, as management drags its heals and attempts to influence employees.

    The EFCA eliminates this right of ownership, and forces management to sit before an arbitrator to agree on a contract with the new union. It ALSO allows for employees that oppose unionization to collect signatures from just 30% of the workforce to demand a secret-ballot vote.

    What management really opposes is Section 4 of the EFCA, which greatly increases fines and penalties on management found guilty of illegal anti-union arm-twisting.

    ---

    The EFCA became a campaign issue here in Maine, as Richard Berman and other groups paid for an intense ad campaign against it, and linking Senate candidate Tom Allen to it. The argument about "secret-ballot votes" was easy for an ignorant electorate to understand, and it dramatically change the polls of that race. The media here did such a shitty job reporting on it that many still think poorly of the bill (which is all of two pages long - read it yourself).

    Some of the ads even featured SAG member Vincent Curatola, who plays mobster Johnny Sack on the popular Sopranos show, lending a nasty mafia meme to them. Idiot.

  •  Why is the secret ballot that has been used (0+ / 0-)

    for years no longer good?  

    I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

    by thestructureguy on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:21:30 AM PST

  •  You can find the actual bill, H.R. 800 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sable

    Employee Free Choice Act here.

  •  Lets just be honest here. Union membership (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I

    is declining and the leadership is doing and thinking of anything that is possible to make it easier to form a union and increase membership.  There are some good things with the card check but in reality its a reflection in the failure of union leadership to be effective and make the union important and needed by the worker.  Face it, if unions were providing the workers with effective leadership you wouldn't need to pull out all the stops to get members.  It's a pretty crappy move by the leadership to make you sign up in front of people. Union leaders can be just as big of assholes as management.  

    I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

    by thestructureguy on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:47:14 AM PST

  •  wooohooo (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, Special K, Big Tex

    On the rec list!

  •  Nathan, have you noticed that (0+ / 0-)

    even though the government has been passing laws for decades intended to help workers join unions, union membership has continued to decline?

    Has it occurred to you that maybe pressuring the government to  pass new laws is the wrong way to go about getting people to join the union?

    Power concedes nothing without a struggle.  Signing a card is not, in any way, shape, or form, a struggle.  You may get more workers in the union this way, but do you really think you'll get any change from corporations?  All you will get is more dues.

    This law will help hasten the union movement's collapse in America.

    •  Huh? Government has been more anti-union (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linnaeus, Pesto, Special K, Big Tex

      Since the Wagner Act was passed in the 1930s, there have been multiple anti-union laws passed, starting with Taft-Hartley in 1947.  And FDR appointed federal judges, who were somewhat pro-union, have given way to overwhelmingly anti-union judges who have gutted the law and made it worse through court interpretation.   The list goes on and on, from barring nurse supervisors from joining unions, preventing graduate student teachers from organizing, allowing employers to fire undocumented workers seeking to join unions without penalty, and striking down a range of state laws to assist unions.

      So in fact, the story is that the law that allowed workers to organize in the 1930s has largely been repealed by statute and by court, so we need labor law reform just to return to the original status quo of the 1930s.

      •  Regarding the first three examples you cite, (0+ / 0-)

        that's pretty weak tea.  Nurse supervisors are supervisors.  Why would you want supervisors in the union?  Graduate students are students with teaching duties.  Undocumented workers don't legally have a right to WORK in this country, let alone join unions.  We can dispute the rightness or wrongness of those rulings, but to say they're inherently anti-union is really stretching it.

        The fourth example, I can't say much about.  I'd like to hear more.

        My whole point is, if you're planning on relying on NLRB laws to protect workers' right to organize, you are going to be very disappointed.  Have you ever tried to get the NLRB to do anything?  It takes years, and even then the resolution is usually far from optimal.

        •  Which is why Board reform is the only answer. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Which is why unions want card check (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pesto, Big Tex

          I agree that the NLRB is useful-- most unions just want the government out of the way.  Card check is one way to bypass the NLRB.  But most "supervisors" have minimal supervisor duties, yet can't organize with their fellow workers-- why is it the government's business to decide who can be in a union?  If other workers think a nurse with some supervisory duties is more a fellow worker than a manager, that should be their call, not the NLRB.

          But the broader point is however you feel about individual labor decisions by the courts or statutes, they have almost universally been more and more anti-union-- contradicting the original statement I was replying to.

          •  Let me propose a scenario. (0+ / 0-)

            The EFCA passes, and 51% of the workers at Joe's Market become union members.  They demand Joe come negotiate their wages and benefits.  Joe says "No."

            What do they do?  Go on strike?  Good luck with that.  Only 51% of the people even wanted to join the union.  Far less will be willing to strike.

            So do you appeal to the law?  That puts us back in the NLRB board room with its high-priced lawyers and leather chairs and scenic views and absolutely fucking useless rulings.  Three years later, the Board will say, "Oh hey Joe, you better negotiate or we're going to cite you."

            •  Actually, no. (0+ / 0-)

              Once a union is certified as a bargaining rep, there will be timeframe to negotiate a new contract...or have one imposed upon you.

              •  And the contract imposed on you (0+ / 0-)

                will not be a major victory for workers' rights, to be sure.

                •  At the very minimum... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...it is a contract that cannot be broken without penalty, which is something the average employer has not had to worry about in dealing with unions for some time.  Having a contract and a clear grievance procedure in itself is a marked improvement over being and at will employee, subject to termination/punishment at the sole discretion of the employer.

                  A first contract is rarely ever "a major victory" in any sense other than setting the foundation for future negotiations.

            •  How is that different from the status quo (0+ / 0-)

              when a union wins a Board election by 51% to 49%?

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

              by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:08:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  We can agree on that. (0+ / 0-)

            Hey, whatever happened to House of Labor on TPM?

        •  The issue in Kentucky River (0+ / 0-)

          wasn't "nurse supervisors" -- the issue was this:  the Act says that if you "direct" other employees, you're a boss.  But if a patient codes and an RN turns to an aide and says, "Get the crash cart!" does that count as "directing" their work?  The Board had always said no, that if you're acting from professional knowledge or standards, and not as an actual manager, you're not "directing" someone's work.  The SCOTUS reversed that, and said, "Gee, there's nothing about 'professional standards' in the Act -- you're a boss!"  It was a stupid case for the Carpenters to fight, since it did in fact deal with RNs at a nursing home (where RNs really are bosses) but it gave Scalia a chance to basically say that anyone who ever tells an employee "we need to do it this way" is suddenly a boss.  Which, yes, is inherently anti-union.

          The issue with graduate teachers is similar.  The Board's ruling that they're students, not employees, is about as reasonable as the SCOTUS ruling back in the 1920s that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act doesn't apply to Major League Baseball, since baseball is a game, not a business.  They wanted to side with bosses, and found a specious argument for doing so.

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

          by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:06:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  What laws exactly has gov't passed... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linnaeus, Big Tex

      ...in favor of unions?

    •  Huh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linnaeus, Special K, Big Tex

      I guess I missed the part -- over my entire lifetime -- where the federal government had passed laws to give employees more freedom to organize.  

  •  i worry about this Union check card to (0+ / 0-)

    I think this Union initiative could be problematic if its goal is to force people to vote in public , for or against Union.

    The GOP will be able to easily demonize it as a gimmick to intimidate workers to vote on behalf of the Union or you'll make a lot of enemies.

    I myself is a bit encomfortable it since my guess is , if you dont vote "yes" on union , you may get calls from other workers warning you that you're fucking up things for them.

    •  intimidation... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pesto, Special K, Big Tex

      in the union election process has been going on for decades, with bosses doing everything possible- legal and illegal- to threaten and punish workers for union support.  We shouldn't let fear (unwarranted in my opinion) of a potential problem stop us from solving an actual problem.  

      As noted in earlier comments, anything a union organizer or co-worker could do to intimidate people would be against the law and vigorously pursued by the bosses.

  •  Card Check in Practice (7+ / 0-)

    I am a labour lawyer practicing in Toronto, Ontario.

    Under Ontario Provincial Law we have a version of card check for unions working in the construction industry (and I represent several of those unions).
    Non-construction unions still operate here on a quick vote model.

    Card check has worked very well here.  In order to be successful, a construction unit has to show that they had support from 55% or more of the bargaining unit (as opposed to getting more than 50% of a vote).

    The Labour Board has quite extensive powers to deal with alleged coercion by union officials and by employers.  There have been many, many cases of employers found to have violated the Act.  To date, there have been no cases under the card check system where union organizers have been found to have violated the Act.

    Membership in a union is essentially a contract of participation in an unincorporated association.  Cards are very clear and explicit that employees are authorizing trade unions to act as their agent.  Their is nothing sneaky about them whatsoever - they run at most to a few sentences.  If a Union has more than 40% but less than 55% it goes to a vote.  Over 55% and the Union simply gets certified.  Under 40% the application is dismissed.

    We still have fights - including about whether certain persons are employees in the bargaining unit.

    What we don't have nearly as much of now is the sort of massive unfair labour practices that would occur between the time the Application was filed and the date the vote was held (usually 5 business days).  I routinely represented unions in cases where they had 80-90% support (i.e. cards signed) going into a representation vote and then lost the vote because of the massive threats and pressure applied in the meantime.

    Oh.  OUr construction economy hasn't collapsed in Ontario.  IN fact its been chugging along quite nicesly and is the sector that has prevented the provincial economy from tanking.

    Earlier in our history - card check applied to all unions - it was introduced by a Conservative government and worked well for decades before a much more extreme Conservative government came to power and rolled it back and imposed a vote model for everyone.  After they were turfed from office the next government restored card check for construction unions.  The non-construction unions are hoping and praying it eventually is restored to them as well

    Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Marx.

    by Childofexpats on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 11:58:13 AM PST

  •  2 other effects of EFCA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trapper John, Pesto, Special K
    1. card-check will make the unionization process more representative of the actual workforce at the start of an organizing drive.  By eliminating the drawn-out timetable of an NLRB election, the turnover variable will not have as much effect on the election. (ie. if you try to organize a retail or food business, chances are that by the time you get your NLRB election, there will be significant turnover.  New employees are always much less likely to vote for a union because they have experienced fewer problems at that job.)  This will be a good thing that will, imo, make the choice more democratic.
    1. Bosses will not just throw in the towel if EFCA passes. They'll find new tactics to fight the union.  Most likely they'll organize boss-friendly workers to organize their own card-check campaigns for a different union (technically illegal, but that won't stop them).  If 2 different unions get cards signed then t could force an NLRB election anyway. Labor will jsut need to stay united and stay a step ahead of the bosses.
    •  Also, it will be much easier for workers (0+ / 0-)

      to organize independent unions.

      Winning a Board election costs so much money and demands so much staff that you need to organize with an established union to have any chance.  With card-check, 60 workers at a small facility could pretty much do it on their own (maybe call a labor lawyer for some advice), sign cards for their own little organization, and present the cards to the boss or the Board.

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

      by Pesto on Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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