|Big Labor Resorts to “Land Shark” Impression on Card-Check Legislation|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 23 2009
Purported EFCA “Compromise” Retains Job-Killing Mandatory Arbitration and Snap Election Provisions
News out of Washington, D.C. this summer hasn’t been wholly bad.
In recent weeks, Democrat Senators effectively killed union card-check legislation because its provisions eliminating secret ballot voting during union elections proved too poisonous.
Unfortunately, the mis-named Employee “Free Choice” Act (EFCA) isn’t dead just yet. Quite the contrary, Big Labor and cowed Senators are simply repackaging EFCA in a manner reminiscent of the recurring 1970s “Land Shark” skit from television’s Saturday Night Live.
Even those not in the habit of watching SNL will recall that popular sketch featuring Chevy Chase, first introduced in 1975 amid public enthusiasm over the movie Jaws.
Unlike the ocean-faring great white shark in the blockbuster movie, the cunning land shark of SNL fame would attack unsuspecting victims by knocking on their apartment doors and persuading residents to allow them in. Pretending to be a harmless deliveryman, service worker or other harmless animal, the land shark would bounce from one harmless-sounding identity to another in the following manner:
Like SNL’s famed land shark, EFCA’s proponents are frantically repackaging the bill in order to slip it past an unsuspecting public.
As noted above, EFCA’s anti-democratic card-check provisions eliminating the secret ballot proved wildly unpopular, even among members of unions. After removal of the card-check provisions, however, a plethora of other job-killing mandates that benefit nobody but Big Labor bosses remains.
Most frighteningly, the latest EFCA “compromise” retains its mandatory government-imposed arbitration provisions.
Under these terms, employers and employee representatives would have just 90 short days to reach a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement. After that unfeasibly short period, a government-appointed bureaucrat would parachute in and impose working terms and conditions involuntarily upon both the company and its employees. This would repeal the concept of mutually bargained, voluntary agreement between workers and management that have existed since the advent of labor law itself.
In other words, EFCA would abolish workers’ right to approve or reject the proposed contract terms under which they work, just as it once sought to abolish their right to a secret ballot during union elections.
Moreover, EFCA’s terms contain no guidance on how these all-powerful government arbitrators would be selected. This would obviously open the door to a wide variety of bureaucratic favoritism and ideological corruption. As a result, federal technocrats with no understanding of the business at issue or the realities of industry would be empowered to impose a one-size-fits all contract upon a huge swath of American businesses.
Additionally, the latest EFCA “compromise” retains provisions that allow only five to ten days for both sides to campaign before an organizing election. Just as currently debated healthcare legislation becomes less popular with each additional day that the public has to examine its terms, unionization becomes less-popular with each additional day that workers have to examine the likely consequences of unionization.
Among those consequences is the fact that EFCA would cost 600,000 American jobs in just one year, according to a study by Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar of the Social Science Research Network. Consequently, Big Labor is desperate to forcibly shorten employers’ ability to discuss the pros and cons of a union election.
The simple fact is that the interests of Big Labor and working Americans are two very different things. Union executives promise higher wages and better benefits, which actually result in greater unemployment and outsourcing of jobs, as illustrated by the auto and steel industries. This is precisely why workers are increasingly skeptical toward the merits of unionization, much to Big Labor’s chagrin.
If Union bosses succeed in their land shark impression and dupe enough Senators to accept EFCA’s latest iteration, Michigan’s economy provides a frightening preview of what awaits the larger American economy.
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