Antidisestablishmentarianism, Union Style

By November 8, 2008Labor Unions

Or more like re-establishmentarianism…

In a basic, thorough examination of organized labor’s push for the Employee Free Choice Act and business’ resistance, Bloomberg ends its story with an interesting claim from Richard Trumka, treasurer of the AFL-CIO. From Labor Seeks Obama Help in Battle With Business Over Organizing“:

“Unlike in the past, instead of saying `OK, we’ve elected you, now do what’s right by us,’ we are going to keep our machinery in place,” Trumka said. “We are going to make sure that our interests are considered at the front of the parade.”

Keep our machinery in place? Certainly hope that doesn’t mean in place, institutionally, at the Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, in the Las Vegas Review Journal, local business talks. From “Election result rekindles card-check debate“:

When members of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s government affairs committee met Thursday morning, the Obama-supported Employee Free Choice Act proved a hot topic.

The proposed federal law would replace secret-ballot unionizing elections with face-to-face card-check procedures, and both unions and businesses agree it would make organizing workers easier than it is today.

“We’re really worried about the way the law is written,” said Steve Hill, a member of the committee who’s also incoming chamber chairman and president and chief executive officer of concrete company Silver State Materials. “It has not reached the level of attention it needs. It’s been discussed and killed (in Congress), and people don’t know it’s still out there. We need to do a better job getting word out that it’s a possibility, and tell businesses what it means to them.”

After all the work the NAM and our members have put into explaining the fundamental anti-democratic nature of the Employee Free Choice Act, it’s a little discouraging to read our friends in business say, “It has not reached the level of attention it needs.” Steve, we’re working, honestly!

But he’s probably right. People only have so much time to follow issues — even important ones like how labor markets are structured — and “card check” is not a self-explanatory term.

Still, seems like we’re making progress. The union, American Rights at Work, released carefully scrubbed results and predictable commentary on a post-election survey of U.S. Senate elections in which the Employee Free Choice Act was an issue. Check out this comment from the executive summary from Peter D. Hart Research Associates:

Voters in Senate battleground states who voted for the anti-Employee Free Choice Act candidate overwhelmingly describe their vote as being FOR (67%) that candidate rather than AGAINST (28%) the pro-Employee Free Choice Act candidate who was the target of negative advertising. If the attacks on supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act had made a significant impact, we would expect the proportion of voters saying they cast their ballot against those supporters to be higher.

Twenty-eight percent of those who voted against the candidate who supported the Employee Free Choice Act did so BECAUSE of the candidate’s position? That’s huge, a reflection of an informed electorate, educated through the advertising of groups like the NAM-supported Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

If in promoting a survey designed to show that voters supported pro-union candidates American Rights at Work has to admit that 28 percent of the votes against their candidate were influenced by the Employee Free Choice Act, well…think of the results they didn’t release.

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