There's a destructive campaign underway to encourage government confiscation of patents from pharmaceutical…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Image of the Day: Private Pharma Investment Dwarfs Federal NIH Funding

There's a destructive campaign underway to encourage government confiscation of patents from pharmaceutical innovators and dictate the price for Remdesivir and other drugs.  That's a terrible and counterproductive policy under any circumstance, but particularly now that private drug innovators are already hacking away at the coronavirus.  In that vein, this helpful image illustrates the vast disparity between private investment and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding that some seem to think justifies patent confiscation, price controls or other big-government schemes:


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="964"] Private Investment Dwarfs NIH Funding[/caption]…[more]

June 01, 2020 • 10:24 AM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Card Check: Is Now Really the Time to Jeopardize Even More Jobs? Print
By CFIF Staff
Thursday, March 12 2009

This week, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama thrust their cynical “Never Waste a Good Crisis” agenda into full speed.

After already capitalizing on the economic downturn as an excuse to propose everything from socialized medicine to contraception subsidies to global warming taxes, they finally introduced their hyper-partisan crown jewel: union card-check.

It was never any secret, of course, that impatient Big Labor would demand reimbursement from Democrats for its naked patronage during the past campaign. This legislation, cynically mislabeled the “Employee Free Choice Act” in a maneuver that would astonish even George Orwell, constitutes that payback. Card-check has long topped Big Labor’s wish list, and one would be hard pressed to hear an honest, objective defense of its provisions.

So what’s the big deal about card-check, and why all the fuss?

Very simply, this bill would: (1) eliminate workers’ right to a secret ballot in union elections; (2) sharply reduce workers’ ability to determine the terms and conditions under which they work; and (3) trigger even more layoffs for a slumping American economy.

First and foremost, as many people already know, card-check effectively abolishes workers’ timeless, democratic right to a secret ballot during union elections.

This is not an exaggeration or ideological hyperbole – it’s simple fact. Section 2 of the House proposal unequivocally states that when the government “finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative … the Board shall not direct an election, but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative.” (Emphasis added.)

That provision radically overturns longstanding labor law, which protects workers against intimidation by safeguarding the secret ballot. In its place, card-check would mean that groups of menacing union organizers would corner workers outside their homes, at the workplace or at the neighborhood supermarket and present them with an offer they couldn’t refuse.

As a result, workers’ votes would now be public, which would expose them to intimidation and retaliation by notoriously uncivil union activists who know their home addresses. Big Labor loyalists defend this provision by saying that it somehow counterbalances alleged employer intimidation during union elections. But if employer persecution of pro-union employees is truly prevalent, how does abolishing the secret ballot remedy that problem? Quite the contrary, replacing the secret ballot with card-check would expose workers to more retaliation, because their votes would suddenly be public.

In an equally grotesque illustration of political cynicism, Congressman George Miller (D – California), who introduced this bill, took the exact opposite position in a 2001 letter joined by Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Sanctimoniously admonishing Mexican leaders, he wrote:

“We are writing to encourage you to use the secret ballot in all union recognition elections. We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required, by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose. We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballot in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace.”

The simple fact is that abolition of the secret ballot is a bald power grab by Big Labor activists desperate to increase their coffers.

The second major defect of card-check is its arbitration clause.

Just as the bill eliminates workers’ right to a secret ballot, its arbitration clause threatens workers’ freedom to determine the actual conditions under which they work. Instead, EFCA transfers that power in many cases to unaccountable government arbitrators with no stake in a workable outcome.

Under current labor law, workers who elect to unionize then have the right to negotiate their working conditions with employers. Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) codifies this right by requiring both employers and employee representatives to meet and bargain “in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” Critically, however, it explicitly provides that “such obligation does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of a concession.”

This safeguards the principle of mutual consent for all parties because it requires them to bargain in good faith, but also allows them to reject terms they ultimately cannot accept.

Card-check abolishes that democratic principle.

In its place, the bill empowers government arbitrators to unilaterally “render a decision” after just 120 days of bargaining, thereby dictating contract terms upon unwilling workers and employers alike. Since most contract negotiations exceed 120 days, the breathtaking toxicity of these arbitration provisions is obvious.

EFCA’s arbitration provisions also eviscerate workers’ freedom to terminate the negotiation process, to decertify unions that forfeit employees’ trust during negotiations and could force employees to participate in dangerously underfunded multi-employer union pension plans. Furthermore, in states such as Michigan that have imposed mandatory arbitration rules, the average negotiation period extends fifteen long months, which leaves anxious workers and strapped employers in a precarious holding pattern. Moreover, EFCA conspicuously fails to identify how arbitrators will be appointed, which obviously opens the door to further uncertainty and governmental mischief.

Finally, this bill will trigger even more layoffs for the American economy.

quantitative analysis by Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar of the Social Science Research Network concludes that card-check will certainly increase union membership, but at the cost of 600,000 jobs in 2010 alone:

“…for every 3 percentage points gained in union membership through card check and mandatory arbitration, the following year’s unemployment rate is predicted to increase by 1 percentage point, and job creation is predicted to fall by around 1.5 million jobs. Thus, if [card-check] passes today and resulted in an increase in unionization from the current rate of about 12% to 15%, then unionized workers would increase from 15.5 million to 19.6 million, while unemployment a year from now would rise by 1.5 million, to 10.4 million. If [card-check] were to increase the percentage of private sector union membership by between 5 and 10 percentage points, as some have suggested, my analysis indicates that unemployment would increase by 2.3 to 5.4 million in the following year and the unemployment rate would increase by 1.5 to 3.5 percentage points in the following year.”

Dr. Layne-Farrar’s analysis is confirmed by the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show that states with the lowest unemployment rates are also right-to-work states.

Clearly, this is not the time to be threatening American jobs with liberal pet projects.

Card-check is good for labor bosses, but very bad for workers, employers and the American economy as a whole.

Question of the Week   
The largest-ever helicopter evacuation took place during which of the following conflicts?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
"Restoring order to America's cities isn't a complicated proposition.All it requires is resources and determination and a firm rejection of the longstanding progressive fallacy that an overwhelming police presence is 'provocative' and 'escalatory' and must be avoided.As has been established across decades of civil disturbances, it is police passivity that emboldens mobs. When the cops stand by, or…[more]
—Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
— Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
Liberty Poll   

Until this week, the U.S. House has required Members to be physically present to vote. Due to coronavirus, "proxy voting," allowing Members to cast votes for absent colleagues, is now being used. Should "proxy voting" be allowed to continue?