Card Check: When It’s a Weapon in a Zero-Sum Game

By August 28, 2008Labor Unions

Astute column from Denver by Clive Crook in The Atlantic Magazine, who strikes a sympathetic tone about labor’s aspirations but assesses card check’s destruction of the secret ballot as wrong, both morally and as a political strategy.

From “More on unions and card check“:

A secret ballot protects workers who want union recognition as well as those who do not. That is why opposing it arouses suspicion. Membership has fallen at least partly because workers themselves doubt that unions best serve their interests, and with reason. Opposition to secret ballots does not reassure them. It is a self-serving demand, and plays badly with the centrists the Democrats need to bring in. It is bad politics, therefore, as well as bad law. …[snip]

The secret of success, arguably, is a culture of accommodation and non-confrontation. Unions can make it easier for firms to work in closer partnership with their employees, to their mutual advantage. But if the relationship is framed as nothing but a contest over rents–a zero-sum game, with no holds barred–the drawbacks seem likely to predominate. What may concern centrist voters is that Democrats are apt to press the unions’ case in precisely this spirit of confrontation. Anti-business sentiment is a dominant note at the convention. EFCA’s most enthusiastic advocates would like nothing better than to grind the faces of the bosses. You do not have to be a boss to be wary of that.

Our emphasis. Cook wrote about card check earlier in the week, which we cited here.

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