President-elect Obama’s interview with the Washington Post in which he expressed nuancedopposition/support/we’ll wait and see/look over there! about the Employee Free Choice Act produced a flood of commentary, including this from The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait:
The point of card check is that union elections have become a joke. Employers hold captive propaganda meetings, and routinely violate labor law by intimidating workers and firing organizers with no serious enforcement. That’s why unions want card check, an expedited way to let workers form a union without facing massive pressure from their bosses. But if there was some other way to let employees decide whether or not to form a union without massive employer pressure, unions would probably settle for that, too. Indeed, some kind of compromise tostop employer intimidation is what I expect to happen in the end. It’s far from all or nothing.
Chait is moving in the world of union propaganda. Once again, we’ll link to actual numbers about organizing elections. A recent BNA review of union elections as collected by the National Labor Relations Board showed:
The union win rate decreased slightly to 60.1 percent in 2007, down from 61.4 percent the year before. Unions have won more than half of all representation elections in each of the past 11 years. The NLRB conducted 1,502 elections in 2007, compared with 1,657 in 2006. In 1996, about 3,300 elections were conducted by the agency. The number of elections won by unions also decreased to 902 in 2007 from 1,018 in 2006. The number of eligible voters decreased to 101,991 in 2007 from 112,336 in 2006. In 2007, unions organized 57,908 workers through the NLRB elections, down from 59,759 the previous year.
A joke? In politics, there’s a term for candidates who win more than 60 percent of their elections — “incumbents.” Unions want more than a 60 percent victory rate, they want to win everytime they try to organize. The only way you can accomplish that is by eliminating secret-ballot elections.
Advocates for the Employee Free Choice Act just keep ignoring the issue: Unions win more than they lose.
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