Card Check: After the Specter Switch

By May 3, 2009Labor Unions

Michael Barone in the Sunday D.C. Examiner, “Beware of mandatory arbitration in Card Check,” with an excellent one-paragraph summary of the potential consequences.

Arbitrators might very well impose terms and conditions similar to those in existing union-negotiated contracts. Those might include not only wages that would reduce a business’s profits, but also generous fringe benefits and thousands of pages of detailed work rules. Private employers might be forced into funding union pension plans with their massive long-term liabilities. Detailed work rules would mean adversarial negotiations between company foremen and union shop stewards over even the most minor changes in work procedures.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary, “Where Is Card Check?,” contemplating possible new strategies by the anti-EFCA business forces if a Specter-endorsed “compromise” is proposed. First, bipartisan reform. Second…

The second is to go after the premise that any of this is needed at all. EFCA has been a solution in search of a problem, resting on the questionable notion that unions are losing “market share” not because of worldwide trends against unionization or because of younger worker’s lack of affinity for unions but because of nefarious actions by employers. This requires some sober discussion and fact-finding hearings, which may not be in the offing in a Democratic-controlled Congress where the hearings are likely to be stacked heavily in favor of pro-union witnesses. Nevertheless, business groups would be wise to start educating lawmakers and the public if they want to burst the myth that the solution to Big Labor’s woes is more federal legislation.

Mickey Kaus comments:

Part of the problem, of course, is that some anti-card-checkers (not me!) have pretended they don’t oppose greater union power–they just object to eliminating the secret ballot, etc.. But now it’s time for a debate on whether more (and more powerful) Wagner Act unions really are a good thing. If business can’t yet make the case that they aren’t–at a time when the unionized auto industry has collapsed under the weight of its own rules and the unionized urban public schools are flailing to reverse their contract-protected incompetence– when can they make it? ….

More from Kaus, “You Can Count on Specter!

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