Results matching “card check”

Mail-in union balloting - PointOfLaw Forum

Mickey Kaus on a card-check "compromise": "if union organizers can distribute the ballots, watch the ballots being signed and collect the ballots for mailing, I don't see where the potential for harassment has been much reduced."

Dressing up EFCA for another try - PointOfLaw Forum

Peter Kirsanow, NRO "Corner":

...One would think that any discussions concerning an EFCA "compromise" would include those senators who voted against EFCA the last time it was introduced, but it appears only those who supported EFCA are involved in the negotiations. ...

To overcome the unpopularity of card check and its abridgement of the secret ballot, Kirsanow says one idea being floated is that of mail-in ballots, but, he says, "mail ballots retain many of the same infirmities as card check". Jennifer Rubin warns against "an innocuous sounding compromise that will permanently tip the scales in favor of increased unionization."

Around the web, May 12 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • After strikeout of Nigerians-v.-Chevron case, and worse-than-strikeout of Nicaraguans-v.-Dole case, next high-profile Alien Tort Statute trial may be Nigerians-v.-Shell [Hartley/Global Tort]
  • Some in Congress wouldn't know a "tax cheat" if they found one staring back at them in the mirror [Geraghty via Balko]
  • Tracking and labeling requirements, due to hit in August, are the next phase in small-business annihilation to emerge from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) [Overlawyered]
  • EFCA's imposed-arbitration provisions draw fire from George McGovern [WSJ] and Manhattan Institute's own Diana Furchtgott-Roth [Real Clear Politics]
  • As legal coils tighten, some payday lenders go offshore or hold themselves out as controlled by Indian tribes [Hartley/Global Tort]
  • Quin Hillyer has been a clarion voice on litigation reform at The Examiner, now Washington Times has grabbed him [MediaBistro "Fishbowl DC"]

Ban binding arbitration, or make it mandatory? - PointOfLaw Forum

Ask Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) and the AAJ, they seem to be having trouble deciding (more).

A card-check Twitter scam: a follow-up - PointOfLaw Forum

My post earlier today describing the misleading tactics of a pro-EFCA Twitter account mentioned in passing (in a P.S.) that "One Twitter user associated with the SEIU does not seem terribly outraged by the tactic."

Now the SEIU-associated Twitter user in question, Michael Whitney, writes to term the above account "misleading. I clearly stated my disdain twice: [first link, second]".

Readers interested in the question should be sure to check out the links in question which, to me at least, tell quite a different story: 1) On Monday morning, Whitney did mildly rebuke (as "not helpful") the anonymous account over a separate, shabby habit it has of "seeding" posts with oft-searched terms unrelated to immediate content, such as "WSJ" and "SEIU". (By doing the latter, it is in effect spamming users who would prefer getting relatively clean Twitter search results on "SEIU".) 2) Later that afternoon, Whitney called the anonymous account "annoying", without more explanation; I see no reason to assume that his sense of annoyance would not be adequately explained by 1). 3) Still later in the day, after Philadelphia lawyer Eric B. Meyer expressed outrage over the account's ripely fraudulent invitation to "join [Newt Gingrich and Saul Anuzis]" in supporting the ARAW (American Rights at Work) petition, Whitney's response was as follows: "@Eric_B_Meyer it directs people to @araw petition page, not a fake petition - once you click, it's up to the person to read correctly." The inference I draw is that -- suckers! -- it's their own fault for not putting on their reading glasses and noticing that the petition was the opposite of what they thought they were signing.

Under the circumstances, I think my description of Whitney as not seeming terribly outraged by the tactic was pretty mild.

A card-check Twitter scam - PointOfLaw Forum

A busy Twitter account of undisclosed sponsorship has been beaming out messages with texts like "Join @newtgingrich @sanuzis in signing the EFCA Freedom Not Fear petition at ...[URL]" Unwary fans of Republican leaders Newt Gingrich and Saul Anuzis who click through and sign are in fact signing a pro-union group's petition in favor of EFCA, a position of course strenuously opposed by Gingrich and Anuzis. [The Hill; incidentally, Point of Law can itself be found on Twitter at @pointoflaw]

This strikes me as a really counterproductive tactic to use in support of the card-check bill, above all because it will tend to remind people of the many attested instances in which organizers have gotten unwary workers to sign union-authorization cards by leading them to believe they're signing something entirely different. And if people think too much about those instances, they're likely to be even less keen on replacing secret ballots with "sign here" card procedures, don't you think?

P.S. One Twitter user associated with the SEIU does not seem terribly outraged by the tactic. Mickey Kaus calls the scam "eerily appropriate".

P.P.S. Welcome Instapundit readers. And the SEIU-associated Twitter user mentioned in the P.S. above thinks I have not presented his full position fairly; that complaint and my response are here.

Michael Barone on mandatory arbitration - PointOfLaw Forum

"The card check bill's mandatory arbitration provisions are a recipe for doing to very large parts of the private sector what the UAW did to GM, Ford and Chrysler," the columnist writes. His earlier column on EFCA is here. More on the imposed-arbitration provisions: James Sherk, Heritage.

EFCA : new footwork needed - PointOfLaw Forum

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary wonders whether opponents of the now-stymied Employee Free Choice Act are prepared for a second battle of "EFCA-lite" proposals that would aim at strengthening union organization without either card check or compulsorily imposed federal contracts. Such preparation, she argues, might call for one of two strategies: a "bipartisan/balanced" approach that would grant some of the requested new powers to unions in exchange for greater transparency and accountability on unions' part; and a more fundamental challenge which would involve trying to show that EFCA is unneeded in the first place and that there is neither crisis nor unfairness in the current set of rules unions must follow in their efforts to organize.

Union organizing vs. employee privacy - PointOfLaw Forum

Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson notes (h/t ShopFloor) that in a Pennsylvania organizing campaign, the UNITE HERE union invaded workers' privacy "by illegally using license plates to track them down... just a taste of what non-union workers will face if the Senate passes 'card check'". In many cases the unions obtained identities of the workers' family members and friends as well. The campaign included uninvited appearances at the homes of Cintas employees. Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to disturb a verdict against the union over the tactics.

Taft-Hartley and the secret ballot - PointOfLaw Forum

A bit of relevant background for the card check debate from Hans von Spakovsky:

The provisions for secret ballots in union representation elections are outlined in Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act, codified at 29 U.S.C. 159 and first passed in 1935. The original language stated that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could provide for "a secret ballot of employees, or utilize any other suitable method to ascertin [sic] such representatives."

This provision was amended by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 to delete the "other suitable method" language after Congress found that "the American workingman...has been cajoled, coerced, intimidated, and on many occasions beaten up, in the name of the splendid aims set forth in section 1 of the National Labor Relations Act."

Good thing that would never happen now!

P.S. Some more on the history of Taft-Hartley, from historian John Steele Gordon.

"Good" arbitration vs. "bad" arbitration? - PointOfLaw Forum

Jim Copland in the Washington Examiner:

The bill specifies that if management and labor were unable to agree to a contract after 120 days, the government's arbitrators would step in and mandate labor terms under "contracts" that would be binding for two years. ... The arbitrators' decision would be final, with no possibility for judicial review.

Card Check places no limits on the Labor Department's discretion, so nothing prevents the mandates drawn up by arbitrators from deviating far and wide: Business might be barred from outsourcing processes or from merging with other companies, and they might be compelled to support "community" groups or meet "green" targets. The difficulties in government involvement in business decisions, made obvious in the financial- and auto-industry bailouts, would be magnified throughout the private economy.

Lest one think that the Democrats backing Card Check are favorably disposed to arbitration in general, realize that another of their top legislative priorities - at the behest of a different special interest, the trial lawyers - is to gut the Federal Arbitration Act to prevent consumer arbitration.

The same legislative leaders, then, are supporting legal changes that would prohibit businesses and consumers from agreeing to arbitrate their disputes but would require businesses and labor to submit to arbitrators' decisions.

Card-check "compromises" that aren't - PointOfLaw Forum

Tinker with the loaf a bit, then relabel it "half a loaf"? Carter @ ShopFloor, Jennifer Rubin at Commentary and Mickey Kaus have thoughts on some of the EFCA-light ideas being promoted out there.

April 15 roundup - PointOfLaw Forum

All-labor- and employment-law edition:


  • A view from some EFCA backers: leadership and labor base are marching in different directions on this thing [Michael Fox]. Senate vote count shows why labor's mulling card check compromise [same]. Constitutions of some pro-card-check unions ensure members' right to use secret ballot to elect officers [Carter @ ShopFloor on Screen Actors Guild and more, von Spakovsky @ NRO on Teamsters]
  • Circuits are split on effects of bankruptcy on union contracts, which may affect where GM or Chrysler file for protection [Bales, Workplace Prof Blog]
  • "Gearing Up for Tougher Wage & Hour Enforcement from DOL", including 250 new investigators [Michael Fox]
  • Mitch Rubinstein (St. John's, Adjunct Law Prof) on stimulus bill's provisions on labor, employment law [SSRN via Bales/Workplace Prof]
  • TARP recipients under political pressure not to use H1-B immigration program [Felix Salmon] Update: So now Wall Street firms are just relocating the hires to other countries, and everyone can be happy [WSJ]
  • 45 percent of French in poll said to find boss-napping acceptable tactic [Stuttaford, NRO "Corner"]

EFCA: "I cannot support that bill" - PointOfLaw Forum

  • In another damaging blow to the bill's prospects, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas has become the first Democrat to come out against it [Arkansas Business]
  • More rumblings of half-a-loaf compromise: "The details aren't out, but BNA is saying that one of the compromises being floated would require the use of dual-purpose-like cards, offering the employee a choice of selecting the union or simply asking for an election. The cards could also be mailed in." [Jeff Hirsch, Workplace Prof Blog] Sen. Pryor (D-Ark.) talks of quickie-election compromise [The Hill; critique of quickie or snap elections from James Sherk and Ryan O'Donnell at Heritage]
  • Politico, which has a special section on the issue, has just finished up an online debate as well.
  • EFCA's "let's have government unilaterally impose contracts" half would seem rather to undercut its "workers really need union representation" half [Kaus; more on the imposed-arbitration provisions at ShopFloor and again]
  • St. Louis labor and employment lawyer George Lenard has been blogging EFCA and its predecessor measure for years; a good place to start is here.

Around the web, April 7 - PointOfLaw Forum

With Washington, D.C. momentarily poised between the last month's epic battle over the as-introduced version of the Employee Free Choice Act (which appears to have fallen short of the votes needed to break a GOP filibuster) and the widely expected next-round epic battle (over some stripped-down version or "EFCA-light" that might command enough votes), we had trouble choosing between two good recent columns on the subject, one by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth and the other by veteran political columnist Michael Barone. So we've reprinted both.

Card Check Workers Can Only Check In - PointOfLaw Columns

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth

This piece originally appeared at Real Clear Politics, 3-12-09. Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Stock markets are near their lowest levels in years, the federal budget deficit has shot to an all-time high, consumer confidence is at a record low, the unemployment rate has been rising and hit 8.1% in February, and over four million jobs have disappeared in the past year. Yet on March 10 congressional Democrats introduced in the House and Senate the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act.

Contrary to its name, the bill's main thrust is not to widen employees' choices, but to narrow them. It eliminates the secret ballot for union elections. Under the law now, if a sufficient number of workers petition the National Labor Relations Board to join a union, the Board conducts an election--by secret ballot--to see if a majority wants a unionized shop.

The Employee Free Choice Act would allow workplaces to be unionized without secret ballots. If a majority of the employees sign a card that says an employee wants to join a union, a process known as "card check," the workplace can be unionized. This process strips workers of the protection of a secret ballot and exposes them to coercion by union organizers and leaders.

With card check, workers can check in but they can't check out. For workers to leave the union, a secret ballot would still be required. This is the height of hypocrisy--that the so-called benefits of "employee free choice" only apply to join a union but not to leave it.

Equally harmful is the bill's little-publicized mandatory arbitration provision, which short-circuits collective bargaining. If the union and the employer fail to reach an agreement on pay and benefits after 90 days of talks, the bill would require them to submit to binding arbitration, with a mandated contract that would hold for the next two years.

That requirement would be unprecedented in American labor law. It would revoke the basic principle of free collective bargaining--that employers and unions may disagree unless they voluntarily accept arbitration.

The union-sponsored bill is intended to help unions reverse a long-term decline in membership. It would harm the economy by increasing unemployment, potentially making the economies of Texas and Oklahoma look more like those of Ohio and Michigan. And, despite his talk of fiscal responsibility, President Obama has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Chairman George Miller of the House Education and Labor Committee offered this defense of the bill: "If we want a fair and sustainable recovery from this economic crisis, we must give workers the ability to stand up for themselves and once again share in the prosperity they help to create."

The problem is that the Employee Free Choice Act, if passed, would do just the opposite. It would slow economic recovery by increasing unionization, artificially raising wages, and therefore raising unemployment. It would turn states with below-average unemployment rates, primarily in the South, into states with high unemployment rates.

What Mr. Miller is asking for American workers is less than what he once sought for Mexican workers. In a letter dated August 29, 2001, coauthored with 15 other congressmen, Mr. Miller wrote to the arbitration council in Puebla, Mexico, "We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose."

Why would Mr. Miller strip American workers of that protection? With union membership declining and now at a weak 7.6% of private sector workers, building up dues-paying membership is the unions' paramount goal, despite the harm it would do to the economy.

In the 2008 election cycle, unions gave millions to Democratic candidates for Congress. Now they want to collect on their investment.

But the deep slump in the economy has eroded support for the Employee Free Choice Act among members of Congress. The bill will pass the House, even though its number of cosponsors has slipped from 230 to 223.

The Senate, however, is a different story. Whereas the bill had 46 cosponsors in the Senate in 2007, it now has 40. If the bill does pass, President Obama has said that he will sign it.

Organized labor made repeal of the secret-ballot requirement a high priority because the intrinsic rationale for unions has been weakening.

Fewer workers see the need to belong to unions because basic health and safety conditions have become standard. Many unions price their workers out of jobs, sending jobs overseas or to more efficient nonunion firms, while taking dues from members to spend on political campaigns and high salaries for union officials. Workers can see that unionized domestic auto companies, notably GM and Chrysler, are in worse shape than foreign companies with nonunion American plants, such as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.

Nonunion firms have more flexibility to adapt to changing conditions than do unionized firms. States with laws protecting workers from being compelled to join unions saw increases in nonfarm employment of 47% over the past 20 years, double the 21% increase in states with no such worker protection.

With jobs at risk now and personal assets shrinking, people are scared. To enact a bill that is likely to make economic conditions worse would be both foolish and irresponsible.

"Card Check: Good for Unions, Bad for America" - PointOfLaw Columns

By Michael Barone

This piece is copyright Creator's Syndicate and originally appeared 3-21-09.

The Obama administration's budget is full of proposals that threaten to weaken our staggering economy. Higher taxes on high earners and reduced deductions for their charitable contributions and mortgage interests. A cap-and-trade system that will impose higher costs on everyone who uses electricity. A national health insurance program that will take $600 billion or so out of the private-sector economy.

But the most grievous threat to future prosperity may be off-budget -- the inaptly named Employee Free Choice Act. Also known as card check, the legislation would effectively abolish secret ballots in unionization elections. It provides that once a majority of employees had filled out sign-up cards circulated by union organizers, the employer would have to recognize and bargain with the union. And if the two sides didn't reach agreement in a short term, federal arbitrators would impose one. Wages, fringe benefits and work rules would all be imposed by the federal government.

It's not difficult to see why union leaders want this. Union membership has fallen from more than 30 percent of the private-sector workforce in the 1950s to about 8 percent today. Union leaders would like to see that go up. So would most Democratic politicians, since some portion of union dues -- unions try to conceal how much -- goes directly or indirectly to support Democratic candidates. The unions and the Democrats want to put up a tollgate on as much of the private sector as they can, to extract money from consumers of goods and services.

They have already set up such tollgates on much of the public sector. In the 1950s, very few public-sector workers were union members. Today, nearly half of all union members are public-sector employees. In many states and central cities -- think California and New York City -- public-sector unions channel vast flows of money, all of it originating from taxpayers, to themselves and to Democratic politicians. The unions use that money to promote some public policies that are not obviously in the interests of public-sector employees -- restrictive trade regulations, for example, which appeal to nostalgic union leaders who would like to see millions of unionized autoworkers and steelworkers once again.

In the previous Congress, the unions got the Democratic House to pass the card check proposal and got every Democratic senator not only to vote for it but to co-sponsor it, as well. But the votes of all Democrats plus that of Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter were not enough then to overcome a Senate filibuster. This year, there is little doubt that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could again jam card check through the House. But moderate Democrats from districts where unions are unpopular have gotten her to spare them a vote until and unless the measure gets through the Senate.

There, its prospects are not so good, now that there is no longer a Republican president to veto it. Card check supporters have a list of 15 Democratic senators who have expressed some manner of unease about the issue. Does Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, up for re-election in 2010, really want to pass a law strongly opposed by her state's biggest business, Wal-Mart, long a target of union organizers? Do Democratic senators from right-to-work states where employees can't be required to join unions want to go along?

As for Specter, union leaders have publicly said they'll support him if he backs card check. His public response has been to hail the importance of the secret ballot and the undesirability of mandatory arbitration.

Politicians can read numbers. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reported last week that 61 percent of Americans think it's fair to require a secret ballot vote if workers want a union. Only 18 percent disagree. Congressional Democrats used to believe that themselves -- in the course of a trade debate in 2001, they urged that Mexico hold secret ballot unionization elections.

Rasmussen also reported an interesting difference between current union members and non-members. Union members by a 47 percent to 18 percent margin thought most workers want to join a labor union. But non-members believe by a 56 percent to 14 percent margin that most workers don't.

Are non-union members deluded? Why don't they want the supposedly higher wages and job protections unions purport to give them? Maybe it's because the adversarial unionism promoted by the Wagner Act of 1935 is out of date. It made some sense when employers used time-and-motion study to speed up assembly lines and squeeze the last quantum of energy out of workers and could lay off workers at will.

But today's employees have unemployment compensation and are protected by various anti-discrimination laws. There is a whole raft of employment law that didn't exist in 1935, and corporate human resources departments are disciplined by that law.

As the Detroit automakers' troubles show, the adversarial work rules insisted on by the United Auto Workers -- a relatively enlightened union in this area -- made them unable to compete in quality or cost with foreign automakers who employ cooperative management techniques and treat their workers as intelligent partners rather than as dumb animals, the way the time-and-motion study managers did in the 1930s.

Card check would give coercive union organizers the chance to impose on large swaths of the private-sector economy the burdens the UAW imposed on the Detroit automakers. It would set up tollgates to channel the money of consumers as well as taxpayers to the Democratic Party. You can see how that would be good for union leaders and Democrats. But good for America?

EFCA at Point of Law: an index - PointOfLaw Forum

We've been blogging on "card check", the Employee Free Choice Act and related topics for more than two years at this site. As part of our continuing effort to make our archives more useful, here's an index to past posts, updated as of March 31, 2009:

Auto industry Big Three, UAW and decline of, 12-05-2008, 12-13-2008, 12-18-2008

Buffett, businessman/investor Warren, opposes, 03-16-2009

Canada, consequences of pro-unionization laws in, 04-14-2007, 11-24-2008, 02-11-2009

Card acquisition, union tactics in, 02-26-2007, 12-15-2008, 02-11-2009, 03-30-2009
see also Intimidation

Constitution, U.S., and, 11-24-2008, 12-21-2008, 02-11-2009

Contract, imposition of union, by federally installed arbitrator, 10-23-2008, 10-28-2008, 11-18-2008, 11-26-2008, 01-02-2009, 03-02-2009, 03-13-2009, 03-16-2009

Decertification of unions, asymmetrical handling of, compared with original certification, 02-02-2007, 03-02-2009

Do as we say, 09-13-2005, 04-23-2007, 12-07-2008
See also decertification

Epstein, Prof. Richard, on, 11-03-2008, 12-21-2008, 02-11-2009, 03-25-2009

General, 02-26-2007, 10-27-2008, 11-18-2008, 01-06-2009, 01-26-2009, 02-11-2009, 03-12-2009, 03-16-2009, 03-25-2009

Great Britain, experience under Margaret Thatcher and, 10-22-2008

International law, and, 04-02-2008, 02-03-2009, 01-30-2009, 02-06-2009

Intimidation, 01-22-2009, 03-13-2009, 03-16-2009, 03-30-2009
See also sit-ins, factory

McGovern, former Sen. George, opposes, 08-08-2008

Mexico, American pressure for secret union ballot in, 12-05-2008, 03-13-2009

Misnaming of, 02-26-2007, 06-21-2007

Obama, President Barack, and, 11-18-2008, 01-16-2009, 01-20-2009, 01-30-2009, 03-26-2009

Politics of, 10-02-2008, 11-02-2008, 11-05-2008, 11-10-2008, 11-18-2008, 11-20-2008, 12-15-2008, 01-07-2009, 01-16-2009, 01-26-2009, 02-11-2009, 03-16-2009, 03-26-2009, 03-30-2009
See also McGovern, former Senator George; Obama, President Barack; supporters

Sit-ins, factory, 12-09-2008, 12-10-2008, 12-18-2008, 12-22-2008, 01-26-2009, 03-26-2009

States, federalism, preemption, and, 01-10-2009, 02-27-2009

Supporters of: 02-16-2007 (Lindsay Beyerstein; New York Times), 11-18-2008 (NAACP), 12-18-2008 (Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club), 01-06-2009 (Joseph Slater), 02-03-2009 (Human Rights Watch)

Privacy violations, in union organizing, 06-08-2005

"Voter intimidation", outcry over alleged Republican, compared and contrasted, 02-16-2007, 02-26-2007, 11-18-2008, 03-13-2009

Voting vs. card-checking, 02-10-2009, 02-11-2009, 03-16-2009, 03-30-2009
See also Intimidation; Card acquisition

Wal-Mart, and, 07-27-2005, 09-13-2005, 03-16-2009

Will, columnist George, on, 02-26-2007, 06-21-2007

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