WaPo Wonders: Visas and Card Check

By March 12, 2007Economy, Innovation, Labor Unions

The morning dawned bright and beautiful today in the nation’s capital and then, mirabile dictu, the Washington Post dawned even brighter. The newspaper’s opinion page published two — two! — editorials endorsing sound policies that support a strong manufacturing sector.

The lead editorial, A Self-Inflicted Wound, called for reforming the visa program that brings skilled foreign workers to the United States, e.g. students in high-demand fields such as science and engineering who wish to remain in the country after finishing their education. The current annual cap of 65,000 visas is inadequate, part of the lunacy of the current system, the Post writes:

America’s knowledge-based economy is increasingly dependent on the best and brightest immigrants, who account for a quarter of the nation’s doctorates and a third of its engineering professors. Foreign-born entrepreneurs were among the founders of Sun Microsystems Inc., Intel Corp., Google Inc. and other leading firms. To educate the next generation of them in America, only to export them to foreign universities and corporations, is foolish in the extreme.

The second praiseworthy editorial, A Balance for Labor,” opposes the “card-check” legislation that would allow unions to bypass secret-ballot elections when attempting to organize the business, replacing it with a process of public signature cards.

The so-called card-check arrangement would give labor too much power to spring unions on employers . Employers who don’t want to see their workers organize deserve a chance to make that case to employees in advance of the decision.

In addition, employees who are skeptical of or opposed to bringing a union into the workplace deserve the protections of a secret-ballot election rather than having to face pressures from colleagues pushing them to sign unionization cards.

The Post elevates “balance” to a good in an of itself in the editorial — employers aren’t so hot either, apparently — but the conclusion still hits the mark. And that’s just Monday! What will the rest of the week reveal?