Card Check: Misrepresenting Numbers

By May 29, 2007Labor Unions

As we’ve observed before (here and here), labor activists and their political allies prefer not to talk about the actual provisions of the hubristically named Employee Free Choice Act. An open discussion of eliminating secret ballots in the workplace tends to meet with disbelief and anger.

Another tactic is to completely, dishonestly represent the incidents of supposed employer misbehavior in order to justify such a radical proposal as card check. Here’s a favorite misrepresentation from an on-line column in the Rocky Mountain News by Jessie Ulibarri, director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition’s Campaign for Economic Justice (closely aligned with Big Labor):

Every day corporations deny employees the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for better wages and benefits. In 2005 alone, there were 31,358 cases of illegal firings and other forms of discrimination against workers for exercising their federally protected labor law rights.

The implication is clear: Employers fired more than 31,000 people for trying to organize unions. But it’s just not true. The NAM’s Jason Straczewski has previously debunked that claim, but it keeps coming up.

According to the NLRB, there were 31,358 employees who were awarded back pay in 2005 from NLRB. A vast majority (25,620) were the result of informal settlement agreements where no finding of coercion exists at all. Furthermore, labor has not provided a breakdown of how many of these instances actually were related to the organizing process or the secret ballot election process.

And here’s the next claim from Ulibarri, who appears to be progressive with the facts:

Twenty percent of union activists are likely to be fired when trying to form unions, according to a new study by the Center for Economic Policy Research.

James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation has clobbered that particular claim, noting first of all that it comes from a survey of union organizers. Some objective source. Sherk continues:

In fact, NLRB data reveal that employers rarely fire workers during organizing drives and that unions win most organizing elections. Companies improperly fired workers in just 1.5 percent of organizing campaigns in 2005, and unions won 61 percent of those elections. These facts, not polls of union organizers or numbers taken out of context, show that most organizing elections are fair and that companies very rarely take illegal action against workers who want to join a union.

Do employers occasionally cross the line during organizing campaigns? Yes, and they correctly suffer the legal consequences for it. But the union claims about widespread retaliation against organizers are just false, period. Both Jason and Sherk’s columns linked above — featuring point-by-point rebuttals — demonstrate those falsehoods conclusively.

P.S. A good column in The Boston Globe on card check by Bob Gibbon, interim president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, “Democracy at the ballot box.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Ryan says:

    David Denholm at PSRF also debunked this theory in two good articles. David and James Sherk at Heritage cooperate closely, but I think David released his two articles a day or two before James.

  • Has any one bothered to count the amount of “failure to represent” charges workers have filed against their unions (as in all unions)?

    There are more registered businesses in the United States than there are union members…Yet the sycophants in Congress are set to sell out the Creators of the jobs to the parasitical bosses.

    What a country!