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Anti-Union Hacks Increase Misinformation Campaign

We wrote a couple of posts here on Wizbang Blue over the last few days (scroll down for links) -- one post that spoke out against Wal-Mart's intimidation campaign against their employees, trying to coerce them to vote for John McCain... telling them there would be layoffs if Obama was elected, and another post which spoke specifically to the extremists that are fighting the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

So it should come as no surprise whatsoever that this same misinformation campaign from the blogging pajama-nistas on the right has increased (emphasis mine).

Well, it seems that a bunch of people are all a-twitter about news that Wal-Mart doesn't like the disgustingly=misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," (EFCA) and actually paid attention to campaign promises -- a lot of Democrats are backing this measure, which -- among other things -- will strip workers of the right to decide whether or not to unionize by secret ballot.

That's absolutely false, and indicative of the misinformation intentionally being spread by extremists in opposition of the EFCA. Here are the facts on this bipartisan effort to support working Americans.

EFCA does not strip workers of their right to choose a secret-ballot election to decide whether to select -- or not to select -- a union representative. EFCA simply gives workers the additional option of selecting a union representative by majority sign-up. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), there are three ways for workers to form a union:

1) By secret-ballot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will conduct a secret-ballot election to select a bargaining representative if at least 30 percent of workers have signed a petition or authorization cards in favor of a union. If a majority of workers voting select a particular union, the NLRB will certify that union as the employees' bargaining representative. EFCA does not change this process.

2) By voluntary card-check recognition: An employer can voluntarily decide to recognize a union representative if a majority of employees have signed authorization cards in favor of the union. EFCA does not change this process.

3) By NLRB-ordered recognition: As a last resort, the NLRB can order an employer who has engaged in unfair labor practices that make a fair election unlikely to recognize a labor union if a majority of employees have signed authorization cards in favor of the union. EFCA does not change this process.

EFCA would simply add a fourth choice for workers seeking to form a union. The legislation would require the NLRB to certify a union representative if a majority -- more than half -- of workers sign authorization cards in favor of the union.

It gives workers an additional option without eliminating the option of an election, allowing them to choose to be represented by a union without their employer subjecting them to intimidation and coercion, but it does not eliminate the option of an election if that's what the workers want. That's just a plain old right-wing lie...

It would take 51 percent of the workers agreeing to form a union using the voluntary check-card to bring that about, but would only take 30 percent of the workers choosing the election option to require an election.

Related:

  • The Battle Over The Employee Free Choice Act Brings Out The Antilabor Extremists - link
  • Republican-Style Democracy in Action at Wal-Mart - link


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (23)

ke_future:

and of course, there's no way that a union could ever convince or coerce 51% of the employees to agree to a card check unionization.

question for you guys. how would you feel if this bill dealt with political elections? i bet you would be howling about jackboots and brown shirts.

it's about the principal of the secret elections being the best way to have an election. and on this issue, i seriously believe you(paul, lee, etc) are wrong.

and i love how you argue the issue, lee. if we disagree with you we are hacks and extremists. nice logic you imploy there. /sarcasm off

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"and i love how you argue the issue, lee. if we disagree with you we are hacks and extremists."

The extremist hack that I quoted in the post above didn't disagree, ke-future, he lied.

a lot of Democrats are backing this measure, which -- among other things -- will strip workers of the right to decide whether or not to unionize by secret ballot.

It does not "strip workers of the right to decide" -- that's a lie. I've found it's not possible to "argue issues" with liars, ke_future.

"and of course, there's no way that a union could ever convince or coerce 51% of the employees to agree to a card check unionization."

Convince? Sure. Force? 51%? No, I think it is highly unlikely. You see - unlike Wal-Mart, unions can't threaten to create layoffs and loss of job or a reduction of hours.

That's exactly what Wal-Mart did, and exactly why we need a system that doesn't require elections unless the employees (30% or more) want an election.

The employees get to choose to have an election, or choose to not their employer a chance to intimidate them.

"By secret-ballot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will conduct a secret-ballot election to select a bargaining representative if at least 30 percent of workers have signed a petition or authorization cards in favor of a union."

Lee,
Is the above secret-ballot measure contingent upon 30% of the members having to sign a petition or authorization card without the protection of a secret ballot? In other words, can the effort to organize under the NLRB rules be voted on secretly?

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that Walmart resists union organization; the question is how does that organization come about?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

That's existing law as it is now, and it isn't changed by the new measure. If 30 percent of the employees request it an election will held.

wx insider:

That is incorrect. The new law changes the old law. EFCA says:

"Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check."

It eliminates the private ballot election, not offers it as an option. Of course, when you use DEMOCRAT TALKING POINTS drafted by the union, you didn't really expect to get accuracy, did you?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Bullshit - more bullshit from lying right wing hacks.

EFCA does not eliminate the option of the election if 30 percent of the employees want it. It adds the option of no- election if a majority request certification without an election, but if 30 percent of the employees request an election an election will be held.

Liars are congregating over on Wizbang "insider" -- feel free to gather and lie to each other over there. Your bullshit is not appreciated here.

"It eliminates the private ballot election, not offers it as an option. "

It does not, that's a lie. Read the act.

Notice that the lying hack above offers no link or proof... Just like the blogger linked in my post above - The liars declare it is so, but offer no backup.

And the new law does not modify the current law - it just adds the option of eliminating the election if a majority of the employees choose to eliminate the election.

kevino:

Lee and Paul:

Read the law. wx insider is 100% correct.
Under "STREAMLINING UNION CERTIFICATION" the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 159(c)) is amended to include

If the Board 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 and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

This invites unions to bypass an election through bribery, intimidation, or fraud by acquiring a majority of signed authorization. There is no excuse for this.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

More BS...

It does not eliminate the provisions that provide for an election if 30% of the employees request an election.

It offers, as you've quoted, the option to bypass the election if a majority of the employees choose to bypass the election.

If you'd read the act, you'd know that it directs the NLRB to develop the "check card" with two options. The employee selects option A if they want an election, and they check option B if they want to bypass an election and certify the union without an election.

If 30% of the employees want an election they'll get an election. If the majority (more than 50%) don't want an election that an election isn't needed.

It gives the employees the option of election or no election.

It puts the decision of whether to have an election or not in the hands of the employees -- they get to choose and it does not eliminate the option of the election.

It gives the employees Free Choice where they do not have free choice now.

kevino:

Lee:

You can't possibly be that dumb. Think it through. The unions will send people to collect cards until they get 50% plus one vote. They won't be interested in the 30% calling for an election - the goal is a majority to bypass the election, and that is the change in the law.

Forget the invasion of privacy: the union will have a list of authorizations - who voted yes, and who voted know. They can now apply pressure to those who don't sign up for the union, and you have know idea just how persuasive they can be.

Now, concerning, "If you'd read the act, you'd know that it directs the NLRB to develop the "check card" with two options. The employee selects option A if they want an election, and they check option B if they want to bypass an election and certify the union without an election."

I've read HR 800 before. I re-read it before I commented. When I read the line above, I went to the Senate version, too. None of this is in either version of the bill. The Board is ordered to develop appropriate language for the election described in paragraph 6 and validating signatures, but the language you describe isn't in there. Please show me where you get this idea from.

Lee Ward:

I got the info here - the same link I referred to earlier.

Majority sign-up has been well-tested for over 70 years. Further, under EFCA, worker intimidation and/or coercion by any party, including unions, will remain strictly prohibited.

Majority sign-up is nothing new. Workers have been forming unions through majority sign-up since 1935. The method for obtaining authorization cards is already established and used via the voluntary card check recognition and the secret-ballot election processes. Indeed, more workers form unions via card check than via secret-ballot elections. In 2004, approximately 375,000 workers joined AFL-CIO unions through majority sign-up, while approximately 73,000 workers used the NLRB election process. (AFL-CIO, "Over 70 Years of Experience with Majority Sign-up.")

While the critics of EFCA claim that, under the legislation, unions may intimidate workers, under current law, employers, employees, and unions are barred from engaging in unfair labor practices. Improperly obtained authorization cards are already invalid and cannot be counted towards majority sign-up. Moreover, in more than 70 years, there have been very few instances of fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining card signatures. Nevertheless, to ensure the integrity of the card check process, EFCA would require that the NLRB develop guidelines for selecting a bargaining representative via majority-sign up, including model language for authorization cards and procedures to verify the validity of authorization cards.

More bullshit deflation ahead:

MYTH: EFCA would require "public" union card signings.

REALITY: EFCA would preserve current confidentiality requirements, which require the NLRB to keep authorization cards and the identity of signers confidential to protect workers from employer retaliation.

"The unions will send people to collect cards until they get 50% plus one vote."

Lol! As a I've said previously, I've worked in a around union shops for decades. This kind of "muscle" just doesn't exist except in mythology and legend.

The NLRB does a decent job of enforcing the law when it comes to unions and certification.

What this act does is take away the club employers use to coerce employees into not choosing an election.

It gives employees "free choice" -- and that's the way it should be.

kevino:

Then you're wrong. The Bill is the primary source, and it doesn't say anything about the Option A versus Option B approach. And you quote all of the Democratic Party propaganda that you want, and it still doesn't change a thing: this Bill as it is written undermines privacy rights of employees and subjects labor votes to bribery, intimidation, and fraud. I have presented a simple, realistic case that illustrates exactly how, and you can't refute it except to restate your conclusion and offer Democratic Party assurances that it is all OK.

By the way, I don't know what unions you've been a member of, but the union muscle is very real, and they are very capable of intimidating people. I've got plenty of first-hand experience, too. (Go over to my comment on Paul's post at Wizbang classic.) And even if you could prove that they don't hire muscle (and you can't), you still have the intimidation factor by peers. Union violence by professionals, amateurs, and organized crime, has a long history in this country and the world.

No sale.

The secret ballot has been a critical reform in this country since the Populists more than a century ago. There are reasons why they are so important.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"The secret ballot has been a critical reform in this country since the Populists more than a century ago. There are reasons why they are so important.

And a secret ballot is exactly what the employees have if that's what they want. EFCA doesn't change that one bit.

And if they don't want to be subjected to the employer intimidation that typically accompanies a secret ballot election, under the EFCA they can choose to avoid that.

Heaven forbid that the employees effected by the decision would have a choice, eh?

kevino:

RE: "And a secret ballot is exactly what the employees have if that's what they want. EFCA doesn't change that one bit."

No, it doesn't. As we have stated and as you cannot seem to refute, if a union can get a majority to ask for a union through a card-check system, there is no secret ballot.
The thing speaks for itself. You only get a real election if you can convince a majority of people to stand up to union, avoid the high-pressure tactics brought on you by union organizers, and have the courage to work in a hostile environment in which pro-union violence is somewhat condoned or excused by Law (e.g. US v. Enmons) or not enforced.


RE: "And if they don't want to be subjected to the employer intimidation that typically accompanies a secret ballot election, under the EFCA they can choose to avoid that."

Please explain how a decision registered by secret ballot is open to intimidation by the employer.

SCSIwuzzy:

That is a good question, Kevino. We know that Paul Hooson has never bene in the union, though his father was.
How about you, Mr Ward? Which union(s) have you belonged to over the years?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"You only get a real election if you can convince a majority of people to stand up to union"

"Stand up to a union?" If a majority voluntarily choose to have a union and choose to do so without an election, then the employees are represented by that union.

You don't need a majority to choose to have an election, you only need a majority to choose to avoid the election.

"Please explain how a decision registered by secret ballot is open to intimidation by the employer."

Lots of ways. Employees who are actively organizing for a union are fired, their work hours are reduced, or they otherwise penalized -- giving the graveyard shift etc. All of this occurs in the weeks and months before the election.

"Which union(s) have you belonged to over the years?"

I said I worked in a union shop for twenty plus years, I didn't say I was a member of the union. I was a member of management - I supervised union employees, participated in union contract negotiations, participated in grievance and arbitration proceedings, and regularly met with union shop stewards.

The specific unions involved will remain a private matter. I don't intend to let personally identifying information such as that go public.

I know precisely the ways in which unions and companies operate, SCSI - I dealt with it on a daily basis for 20 plus years.

codekeyguy:

Lee,
Sounds like you were part of the "intimidation factor" that companies use to eliminate unions.
Personally, I feel unions have outlived their usefulness. They have singlehandedly driven many (most) manufacturing jobs out of the US and overseas by pricing themselves out of business.
FYI, two retail grocery chains (I asume regional, not national) Hannafords, and Price Chopper, are both non-union. If you speak to any employee, everyone is very happy to work for them, great benefits, and no union dues. Many of the employees used to work at Stop and Shop, and Shoprite, both union shops. All find conditions better in the non union shop.
My two cents!!!

kevino:

RE: Standing up to a union.
A majority of the workers will have to stand up to the pressure that the union can and will bring to bear to get what they want. (see below)

RE: Decision by secret ballot
Cute, as I didn't phrase the question specifically enough, you avoided the basic issue. However, even accepting the examples of intimidation, they are not relevant to the difference between a secret ballot or check cards. Specifically, "employees who are actively organizing" are assumed to be known. As such, it doesn't advance your central argument (or rather the Senate Democrats' argument) that a secret ballot is no big deal.

I'll rephrase. In reference to this statement: "And if they don't want to be subjected to the employer intimidation that typically accompanies a secret ballot election, under the EFCA they can choose to avoid that." You seem to be implying that the secret ballot puts employees at risk of intimidation that would not be present using the alternative check-card method. Please explain this disadvantage of the secret ballot.

RE: Your experience
Your experience is how your union worked with your company after the contract was established.

I did a quick google search of recent articles on union intimidation. From the House testimony of one Jennifer Jason, former union organizer for UNITE-HERE.

I was directed to organize thousands of workers using "card check" strategies against companies such as TJ Maxx, Levi's, New Flyer Bus Company, and Cintas. ...

At the time, I personally took great pride in the fact that I could always get the worker to sign the card if I could get inside their home. Typically, if a worker signed a card, it had nothing to do with whether a worker was satisfied with the job or felt they were treated fairly by his or her boss. I found that most often it was the skill of the organizer to create issues from information the organizer had extracted from the worker during the "probe" stage of the house call that determined whether the worker signed the card.

I began to realize that the number of cards that were signed had less to do with support for the union and more to do with the effectiveness of the organizer speaking to the workers.

This appears to be consistent with results of secret ballot elections that are conducted in which workers are able to vote and make their final decision free from manipulation, intimidation or pressure tactics from either side.

From my experience, the number of cards signed appear to have little relationship to the ultimate vote count. ...

When the union is allowed to implement the "card check" strategy, the decision about whether or not an individual employee would choose to join a union is reduced to a crisis decision. This situation is created by the organizer and places the worker into a high pressure sales situation. Furthermore, my experience is that in jurisdictions in which "card check" was actually legislated, organizers tended to be even more willing to harass, lie and use fear tactics to intimidate workers into signing cards. I have personally heard from workers that they signed the union card simply to get the organizer to leave their home and not harass them further.

Also, I note that several comments have raised the issue that this bill undermines the secret ballot, and without it, there is serious risk of bribery, intimidation, and fraud. That is a serious issue, and one that you cannot seem to counter. I don't see a rational basis for your thesis.

Care to try again?

SCSIwuzzy:

Lee,
I never meant to say you were in a union. I just wanted some clarification of where you are coming from. Not from first hand experience of union membership, but from working in a company that has union labor. It is interesting that both you and Paul, never members of any union, are so very pro-union.
codekey,
I don't think all unions are past their time. I wouldn't want to work in most of the mining industry without unions. They may not always be right or thinking about long term consequences, but they are still needed. Retail stores and much of the US manufacturing sector (both of which I have been a union laborer)... not so much. Labor laws, OSHA and the like cover so much now that if you took a worker from say, 1931, and dropped him in the same occupation today in a non-union shop, he'd be amazed at the high standards. To pay the devil his due, unions played a large part in raising the bar to where it is today.
Government employees... that they aren't just unionized, but that those same unions then funnel money back to political candidates and PACs... that takes the cake. I can deal with some advocacy ads and "education" efforts to inform voters of their position and the relative position and actions of candidates, but the contributions of time or money on behalf of candidates is virtually incestuous.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Not from first hand experience of union membership, but from working in a company that has union labor."

My experience with unions is far above "working for a company that has union labor", SCSI.

"It is interesting that both you and Paul, never members of any union, are so very pro-union."

Both Paul and I have seen up close and personal just how unions and union members benefit from their membership. In my own experience as the manager and front-line supervisor of a large-number of union employees, and from my decades of experience working within the confines of a union contract, and from the hundreds of hours I've spent in meetings and negotiations with union officials, I know first-hand that the overwrought, cliche'd rantings of the right on the subject of unions stems from being misinformed and just plain being political hack stooges of the big-business interests in the Republican party.

Those interests feed conservatives lines like "the EFCA will strip away the employees right to an election" and the less-informed and less-bright bloggers just pick it up and repeat it despite it being total bullshit. Pretty soon the lie is spread all over the internet.

kevino:

Lee:

When the opposition quotes directly from the bill and you constantly quote Democratic party propaganda as "fact", you're the one that looks less-informed and less-bright.

The bottom line is that I, for one, have called you on a couple of these points, and you can't or won't defend your position. Your argument has no basis in fact: you simply restate your conclusions, call the opposition names, and quote extensively from democrats.senate.gov with lots of added bold-faced words.


Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

kevino,

Here's the "quote directly from the bill" whihc doesn't contradict anything I've said, in fact --

If the Board 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 and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

and here's what I posted in the blog post that you're commenting on, kevino. Noting you've quoted directly from the bill contradicts anything I've written.

Here, I'll even add bold type so you can see what is obvious to others, that what I've says the same thing that you've quoted.


By secret-ballot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will conduct a secret-ballot election to select a bargaining representative if at least 30 percent of workers have signed a petition or authorization cards in favor of a union. If a majority of workers voting select a particular union, the NLRB will certify that union as the employees' bargaining representative. EFCA does not change this process.

See - majority means no election.

It doesn't take away the employee's right to an election. It offers the employees to choose to not hold an election by just deciding to select the union -- if a majority agree - then no election.

If no majority, but at least 30 percent of the employees want an election, then an election will be held.

The election option is eliminated only of a majority of employees agree. That's not "stripping them of the option," it's giving them a choice.

A free choice.

kevino:

RE: "Noting you've quoted directly from the bill contradicts anything I've written."

Item #1: You said, "If you'd read the act, you'd know that it directs the NLRB to develop the "check card" with two options. The employee selects option A if they want an election, and they check option B if they want to bypass an election and certify the union without an election."

Where is this in the Bill?

[Here's a hint for you: I don't think that's how it works. When you sign an authorization card with a union, you are asking for that union to represent you. You can't just ask for an election; you're asking for representation by a specific union. That's what the election is about: it is about electing that union.]

Item #2: You said, "It gives workers an additional option without eliminating the option of an election, allowing them to choose to be represented by a union without their employer subjecting them to intimidation and coercion, but it does not eliminate the option of an election if that's what the workers want." And you also said, "And a secret ballot is exactly what the employees have if that's what they want."

No, the choice is whether or not to sign the card authorizing union representation. The majority may want an election to certify the union. The majority might even vote in favor of the union. But we'll never know because the law has been changed to remove the secret ballot.

That will do for now.

Except that I also notice that you still did not address the fundamental issue: This bill invites unions to bypass an election through bribery, intimidation, or fraud by acquiring a majority of signed authorizations.

SCSIwuzzy:

Lee,
As someone that has been a union member, I've seen things up close as well. My experience does not match up with yours.


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