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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act and Joe the Plumber

(By Peter Kirsanow, National Review Online) - Proponents of the Employee Free Choice Act ("EFCA") maintain that card check unionization will protect employees from the alleged employer coercion and intimidation that accompanies secret ballot election campaigns. This, say proponents, is why card check better protects an employee's free choice than the present system of secret ballot elections supervised by the National Labor Relation Board.

Let's examine that proposition using Joe the Plumber (not Joe Wurzelbacher. I don't know where he stands on EFCA, although I have a hunch).

The Union targets Joe's employer for unionization. There are 100 employees in the proposed bargaining unit, so under EFCA the union only needs to convince 51 of them to sign authorization cards for the union to be certified as the collective bargaining representative for all 100.

The Union leaders are pretty sophisticated at organizing. After all, it's what they do. Pretty quickly they identify both the employees most receptive to unionization as well as those most opposed. Joe falls into the latter group so the Union never even attempts to get him to sign a card. In fact, since most of the pro-union employees work a different shift, Joe's not even aware a union drive is going on.

The Union gets 51 employees to sign cards and gets certified by the NLRB as the collective bargaining representative for all employees — including Joe, who had absolutely no say in whether he wanted a union.

The Union and Joe's employer begin negotiations but can't get an agreement within 120 days. Under EFCA, a government-appointed arbitrator then writes the "contract". The arbitrator puts a union security and dues check-off clause in the "contract", thereby requiring Joe's employer to deduct $45 a month from Joe's paycheck and remit the amount to the union. The arbitrator also orders Joe's employer to pay a 5% wage increase — an amount that squeezes the employer's margin. The employer considers lay offs to avoid losses. Joe is near the bottom of the seniority list.

Under EFCA, the arbitrator's order is binding for two years. Joe and his co-workers can't reject it. Joe's company can't reject it.

Let's review: Joe had no choice in being represented by the union. He had no choice in paying union dues. He had no choice in accepting the arbitrator's order that might lead to his lay-off.

Joe concludes that the correct title is the Employee No Choice Act.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo Joe,
The employee free choice act is anything but free. Just like most other legislation it caters to special interest groups (The Unions). Not necessarily is it better for US employees. There is no question that it will be better for all unions in general.
The facts are that unions in general win around 50% of all union organizing elections. But as unions become less and less in touch with their membership and the group they represent, fewer and fewer people actually want to belong to a union. But the unions want a free ride. They are hoping for a Hail Mary pass that will tip the scales from the current 50% win rate to virtually 100% win rate.
The only problem with EFCA is if you don’t want to become a union member you will anyway. You will not only pay dues, you will pay for union related benefit plans. These plans are not invested to receive the best return on investment; they are invested to maximize union clout. And while no one else wants to talk about it they are subject to union corruption. Is this really what you want for your retirement benefits?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 11:33:00 AM  

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