In Their Haste to Scrap Democracy, Unions Ignore the Facts

By March 1, 2007Labor Unions

As the US Congress stands on the brink of eliminating secret ballot elections, thereby joining the ranks of North Korea, Cuba and other totalitarian regimes, we thought it might be a good idea to set the record straight on some yarns being spun by the unions in their desperate attempt to pass the anti-democracy card check bill.

Lucky for organized labor, almost no one in the Congress has a working knowledge of the National Labor Relations Act or the procedures under which the Act is administered. If they did, they would understand how specious some of labor’s claims have been. Of course, this assumes that labor’s lackeys on the Hill would be persuaded by the facts, a dubious proposition, we admit.

Myth: The unions say they are unable to talk to employees in order to to try to get them to support the union, in that the employer has sole Svengali-like control over the employees and has sole access to them.

Fact: Under current law, unions only need 30% of the employees in a unit to sign cards in order to force an election. Once they do, the employer is required to provide the union with a list of the names and home addresses of all voting-eligible employees, whether or not they signed cards. This “Excelsior” list (named after a 1966 NLRB case) has gone virtually unmentioned in this whole debate. It’s not like the unions can’t reach these employees. In fact, they can reach them right in their homes — and do.

Myth: The Unions say that employers thwart and intentionally avoid elections though (mis-)use of the NLRB.

Fact: The NLRB, on its website, says, “Where an election is appropriate, we will attempt to get all parties to agree to a voluntary election. We have been successful in achieving election agreements 80 percent of the time.” (Emphasis ours) Hmmm.. 80% is far cry from the picture that labor tries to paint, i.e., of a hostile and recalcitrant agency.

Fact: The NLRB also notes on its website, “Where an election is appropriate, we attempt to schedule the election as soon as practicable, normally within 6 to 8 weeks after the petition has been filed.” (Again, emphasis ours). This is also a far cry from labor’s doomsday scenarios of elections dragging on for months and years. Hardly.

Myth: It’s gotten so bad for unions, so they say, that they just can’t win elections at the NLRB anymore — owing, of course, to all sorts of mean employer behavior.

Fact: If you check the NLRB election reports, you’ll see that for the six months ending in March of ’06, unions won 60% of the elections. This number has remained relatively constant through October, November and December of ’06, the most recent numbers available. This doesn’t really jibe with the “we can’t buy a win because of those big bad employers” whine that we’re hearing from the union skates these days. And remember, unions had great success under this statute for three or four decades, a statute that’s not been substantially amended.

Fact: As we’ve mentioned in this space before, there’s not an employer-side labor lawyer in this country who thinks of the NLRB as a pro-employer haven — far from it. Unions are much happier to be before the NLRB than employers are.

The bottom line here is that — just like in union elections — unions are willing to say or do anything to win and are clearly not constrained by the truth. Unfortunately, their Sherpas in Congress are all too willing to listen. After all, to the 230+ co-sponsors, more union members = more dues = more PAC money. Cha-ching. What goes around…

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