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"Card Check" Won't Open Floodgates To Unionizing

One fact that is conveniently ignored by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act is that card check won't necessarily open the floodgates to rampant unionizing of nonunion businesses. Two years ago in the state of Oregon, the legislation passed legislation that was signed by the governor that changed Oregon labor law, allowing card check. In just two years, only 110 employees of various businesses for workplaces used such a union representation method to allow just six workplaces to become unionized. Out of the thousands of workplaces in the state, that is a pretty small increase in the number of businesses that became unionized.

In most cases it appears that most of the increases in union workplaces were among workplaces such as small fire departments or groups of educational workers such as at community colleges, etc. In one case, a group of electrical workers requested a vote, and by a single vote rejected becoming unionized.

The fact of the matter is that big lobby efforts continue to fight against the Employee Free Choice act at the federal level, inspired by fear stories among the business community and among Republican members of Congress of fears of rampant unionizing will take place if the legislation passes. But like much fear driven politics. the reality of the experience in Oregon proves that by allowing an easier path to unionization will hardly bring new costs to most businesses during this recession. Further, many agencies closely associated with government such as the Oregon Lottery Commission and the Oregon Judicial Department still remain as functioning as nonunion agencies.

The fact of the matter is that employers still hold too many legal ways to circumvent unionizing such as requiring employees to attend mandatory anti-union propaganda meetings and film presentations, often hosted by professional anti-union organizations. Even if a lot of the information presented is outwardly false and misleading, still this method has only worked to undermine unionizing efforts in many workplaces.

Another problem is that most Republicans seem to be standing in the way of the vote in the Senate to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, leaving it critical that Al Franken is seated in order to allow a vote to proceed. But unfortunately for many workers, this won't yet open up the better benefits of becoming a union member for many workers as the slow progress to unionize in Oregon since card check became law proved.


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Comments (17)

GarandFan:

Keep carrying that union water Paul.

SantaMaria:

Are the workers at your grocery unionized?

pvd:

So your the point is there is nothing to fear from having the secret ballot eliminated?

I'm a former union employee (Teamsters) and I don't want the union thugs I knew to have a chance to strong arm the friends that I have that chose to work in a non-union shop.

Personally, I would prefer to keep my basic freedoms. I know, it makes me so yesterday to believe in things like a secret ballot, 1st amendment rights, one (living) man, one vote.

Allen:

pvd, The secret ballot will not be eliminated. Where did you receive your talking points at?

pvd:

Allen:

Teamster Local 36

The friends that don't want to unionize are at Superior Concrete.

And the secret ballot, as it applies to organizing a union, does indeed go away. A simple majority of card-signing employees can trigger an election. The card signing is not secret. Vito and Guido (or in Local 36, Art and Dom) can bully you to sign. They will know who didn't sign.

Reprisals will occur. Seen it before and it a major reason I am not in a union job now.

Which union are you a part of?

LiberalNightmare:

I grew up in Flint Mi, my home was just a few blocks from a big plaque on Chevrolet Ave that celebrated the birth of the UAW.

If we can somehow make it easier for unions to flourish, we could make every city a union utopia - just like Flint Mich.

Eric:
The secret ballot will not be eliminated. Where did you receive your talking points at?


Allen, I received my talking points from H.R. 1409 and S.560, the House and Senate bills for EFCA.


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).

What part of the sentence "the Board shall not direct an election" don't you understand?

LiberalNightmare:

Card check sponsor George Miller put it best in 2001 "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,".

If a secret ballot is good enough for Mexico - Its good enough for America.

SCSIwuzzy:

PVD,
I suspect that much like the authors here (messrs Ward and Hooson) that Allen has no direct experience as a union member, which explains his romantic notions of union altruism and nobility.

pvd:

I suspect your right, SCSIwauzzy.

But in some cases, it's more about scoring points rather than doing what's right.

In another thread,Paul is talking about how much money he's loosing because a real estate deal hasn't gone through. The deal is for a grocery store. I wonder if he'll organize and unionize it.

Any bets?

Paul Hooson:

SCS and PVD, the fact of the matter is that with card check in Oregon, 30 percent of workers can request an election if they so want and one will be held by signing a petition. In the case of the electrical workers for Columbia Peoples Utility District, 30 percent of workers requested an election, and by a single vote, the electricians rejected representation by the Electrical Workers Local 125.

In the case of my father, who was a union baker, for his $40 a month in union dues he received medical and dental care benefits for all immediate family members, high wages and even time and a half for overtime work, a $1,600 a month retirement check paid out by the union from the investments they make in mutual funds, etc. In addition, my dad became a shop safety inspector, cutting accidents way down that resulted in injury or even death. For $40 a month in union dues it was an excellent deal.

In the case of my grocery store deal. I've already put up the money to buy a grocery store that remains profitable, even though the sales are currently down by 40% due to the recession and some mismanagement by the current owners. My intent is to staff the store with family members for now and rebuild it into a strong business, and then to spin off new stores. But the problem I'm having is that both the seller and building owner have been extremely slow to sign the documents to complete the sale so that I can apply for all the licenses to transfer the business. The agent I had working for me is both a real estate professional and a lawyer as well. He has become very frustrated at the slow progress in what should be a very quick sale of a business. In the meantime, I estimate that I'm losing around $7,000 a week due to all this needless waste of time. Once I expand this business into an operation with more stores, I would certainly entertain the idea of becoming a union business because union workers are much more professional than hiring minimum wage workers to staff a business. Running a sloppy mess with cheap labor might be good enough for some businesses, but not for a highly professional one that is intent on making a lot of money.

ke_future:

paul, you may want to think that union members are "so much more professional" but i can tell you from personal experience that is not true. from my own, personal, experience, union members are not interested in customer service or doing a good job. they are interested in putting in their time with as little work as possible. because their job us secured by the union, after all. but hey, you might have had a different experience with unions. not all of them are the same.

as far as card check? it might be that with honest unions it wouldn't be a problem. but with dishonest and corrupt unions, like the teamsters? disaster waiting to happen. until you have experienced the strong arm of a union, i'm not sure you can really understand why some of us are looking at this with skepticism.

SCSIwuzzy:

So, Paul, the answer is no.
You are not, and have never been a member of a labor or trade union. And no, your employees will not be unionized either.
How about your other businesses? Were they union?
Could it be because union interference and overhead would put another nail in an already weak business' (as you said, the recessions ain't making things any easier) coffin?

pvd:

Paul: I actually wasn't questioning the details of your transaction. I run my own micro-business that interacts with the real estate industry. While my revenues are at a record level (up about 25 percent this year), I know a fair number of agents that are getting clobbered. I also sympathize with you regarding the speed of the transaction - I see a goodly amount of dithering as people try to determine the best course of action.

But if you feel as strongly as you do regarding a unionized workforce, why would you not start it off as a union shop?

And regarding the issue of professionalism, I can vouch for the professionals that I worked with that were not unionized. Professionally competent and professional in attitude and work ethic, they were a pleasure to work with. The latter two qualities were not evident in my union shop when I worked in San Diego. As a matter of fact, it was downright embarrassing to be associated with those individuals. As for attending the meetings at the union hall, a finer collection of thugs and bullies would be harder to find.


Eric:

Paul said,

Two years ago in the state of Oregon, the legislation passed legislation that was signed by the governor that changed Oregon labor law, allowing card check. In just two years, only 110 employees of various businesses for workplaces used such a union representation method to allow just six workplaces to become unionized. Out of the thousands of workplaces in the state, that is a pretty small increase in the number of businesses that became unionized.

You didn't do much research about this law did you? The Oregon law only covers State Public Sector Employees. Private sector employess are not covered.

There are reasons the law hasn't been widely used.

Officials at the state's two most aggressively organizing public employee unions say there hasn't been a flood of card check campaigns because most large public-sector workplaces were already unionized in Oregon
As for small workplaces, Sue Lee Allen, organizing director for Oregon AFSCME Council 75, says her union doesn't organize units with less than 15 employees, since it takes as long to bargain a contract for small units as for larger ones.
Paul Hooson:

Hello Eric. You provided some new information for this discussion here, and I appreciate that fact.

J.R.:

Hello Eric. You provided some new information for this discussion here, and I appreciate that fact.

Actually Paul, this is not new information, but information you should have known or found out before posting this tripe. And in light of the information that Eric found for you, perhaps an update to your original post is in order. Considering your numbers are way off.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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