The battle over The Employee Free Choice Act, which has bipartisan support in Congress, is really bringing out the anti-labor union extremists. The bill offers stronger penalties for criminal violations of employee rights when workers seek to form a labor union in their workplace or are in the middle of first contract negotiations.
In addition, It also provides both mediation and arbitration during first contract disputes and allows employees to sign cards authorizing support for a labor union to represent them. With George Bush appointing some sharply antilabor union members to the National Labor Relations Board to weaken labor unions just at a time when so many Americans are hurting financially, The Employee Free Choice Act is just one means to help to maintain some level of equality between the employee and the employer in the workplace.
In some states such as Oregon, a nursing home which was supposed to be run by a religious order actually used wire tapping and other criminal means in violation of federal law to prevent the workers from forming a labor union. It is a shame that while many nursing homes charge thousands a month for care of the elderly, some nursing homes have terrible records for patient neglect and abuse. It is certainly to the benefit of the consumer public to have a qualified workforce to care for their loved ones.
But some businesses only seek to maximize profits at the expense of the persons that they care for. In some cases, sex offenders who sexually abuse the patients have been hired, and in nonunion nursing homes other workers who complained about this criminal conduct actually lost their job, while the sex offenders kept their jobs. In a unionized nursing home such serious problems are far less likely to take place because of job security protections against wrongful termination.
Unfortunately, it is not only some of the very worst of businesses which oppose The Employee Free Choice Act, but it is a familiar coalition of antilabor union extremists who are out in full force to battle any legislation that gets tougher with employers who use threats, wire tapping or other criminal means to prevent their workers from making a free choice whether or not they wish to enjoy the better wages, better benefits, and job security provided when a labor union works to create a highly professional workplace.
The fact of the matter is that the employer, employees and the consumer public all benefit when business has a highly professional workplace with high quality employees.
Grover Norquist, who is an associate and close ally of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is just one of several familiar figures involved in fighting The Employee Free Choice Act. In his own words, Norquist strives to "crush labor unions as a political entity" and to "break the unions". If it was up to people like Norquist, employees would have low paying minimum wage jobs, no job security and no retirement benefits other than some small Social Security check to depend during retirement. Meanwhile the wealthy like Norquist enjoy the best of things in life for themselves. They just don't want others to have any chance to acquire it.
Rick Berman, the millionaire lobbyist who runs The Center For Union Facts, has a long history of being funded by some of the worst elements of the alcohol and tobacco industry, including some companies that were found guilty of civil racketeering by a federal judge. When Berman isn't involved in efforts to beat down the wages of working people or destroy labor unions, he has lobbied against drunk driving laws because it hurts the alcohol sales of his alcohol industry clients or battled against numerous other consumer causes such as in support for some pesticides that are controversial.
Berman loves his image as "Dr. Evil", although some like Attorney General of Montana are far less amused, and found Berman's $1 million dollar smear campaign against public employees in television ads to be "inaccurate" and "demeaning". One Berman ad even had heavy racist overtones featuring a disgusting racist stereotype of a minority employee too lazy to do their job and abusing of their sick days privileges. A number of TV networks have refused to air some ads by Berman because they "believe that the spot is designed to be inflammatory, incendiary, and panders to the lowest common denominator stereotypes about unions and union officials".
The National Right To Work Committee is another long-time opponent of decent wages and opponent of The Employee Free Choice Act. This organization is so radical that even a Reagan-appointed federal judge, Michael A. Telesca, in 2006 opposed the NRTWC's involvement as counsel in labor case to some nonunion workers because the organization is "well known for it's hostility to unions on political and ideological grounds". The organization has also sought to levy huge civil judgements against unions intended to bankrupt them in some cases where they might have misunderstood the law or legal limits to seeking to unionize.
The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce is a long-time opponent of not only The Employee Free Choice Act, but also the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act, Fair Minimum Wage Act and even the Family and Medical Leave Act. Just because some female worker becomes pregnant and needs to take a little break from work is no reason for her to lose her job, but the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce seems to think otherwise.
The U.S.Chamber Of Commerce has also misrepresented their relationship to Berman's Center For Union Facts claiming that they have not helped to fund this organization, yet it is a fact that the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce's Vice President for Labor, Randal Johnson has worked as an advisor for Berman's organization. Maybe The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce doesn't like the association with convicted racketeers and others who are associated with Berman's group, and therefore seeks to conceal their role of support for that reason. Any association with any White Collar crime figures is not a not a positive image for this organization.
If anything, like any other labor issue, the same familiar group of anti-labor union extremists always pops up no matter if the issue is maternity leave, fair wages or The Employee Free Choice Act meant to put more teeth into the laws meant to prevent illegal wiretapping, interception of employee emails, or threats to employees who are merely considering forming a labor union. It is also hard to imagine how anyone can justify many illegal acts such as wire tapping or interception of employee Emails which are already federal crimes, but often used by some dishonest employers to control their workers.
The Employee Free Choice Act is a good bill, meant to put some teeth into preventing a wide range of crimes against employees unfortunately still common in a few bad workplaces. If some like Berman's organization didn't receive payments from some bad businesses such as that have been found guilty as racketeers in federal court, then they would really have very little to fear. The Employee Free Choice Act only targets the very worst of criminal acts from the very worst of businesses. Most businesses should have no objections to such moderate legislation with many bipartisan cosponsors in Congress.
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