Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why the Employee Free Choice Act is Bad for America

The roots of our country's trade unions extend deep into the early history of America. Labor strikes in America began in the late 18th century. By the 19th century, recorded efforts by unions to improve the workers' conditions, through either negotiation or strike action, became more frequent.

Those who claim that this country still needs unions state the following:
Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Sounds good doesn't it? But obviously not all agree.

Take schools for example. It is easier to levitate then it is to fire a New York City schoolteacher who is a member of the Teachers Union.
"We tolerate mediocrity," said New York's Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, because "people get paid the same, whether they're outstanding, average or way below average."

And who pays for this mediocrity? We do...parents, students and dedicated teachers.

This is only one example. Unions also protect bad police.
"People don't know this, but police unions, particularly in New York, for example, have been lobbying so that officers who are accused of misconduct don't have to talk to their own police administrators," Kamau, a former police detective, says.

Everybody knows who a bad employees best friend is...their union. Pay your dues, show up at work long enough, don't do anything criminal and it's just about impossible to get fired.

Having a union may be good for some workers. And certainly, some companies have botched employee relations so badly they deserve to have their workers represented by a union.

But for the economy as a whole, a large increase in the number of unionized businesses would be a tremendous drag on growth, especially in dynamic sectors such as technology.

Yet that’s exactly what union backers in Congress are pushing for with the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. The measure was passed Thursday by the House. It’s expected to receive more skeptical reception in the Senate — where it deserves to die.

The bill would allow a union to be established when a majority of workers sign check cards giving their consent. Such a system would effectively supplant the current process of using supervised elections to decide on union representation.

The check-card system would deny workers the protection implicit in a secret ballot, leaving them exposed to intimidation from union organizers who collect the cards.

Unions are pressing for this change because they know it would mean many more bargaining units, many more members and a vast increase in the flow of mandatory dues revenue.

Yet a massive increase in unionization would lead to economic stagnation as the inflexible work rules of labor contracts percolate through more American businesses.

The economy grows by adding new work to existing work, a process that is spontaneous, unpredictable and often disruptive to the typical union contract, which divides work into strictly defined categories.

Unions tend to retard growth because it is in their interests that industries remain the same, in terms of technology. Any change can put unions in conflict not only with management but with the new innovations that make familiar products obsolete.

“Only in stagnant economies does work stay docilely within given categories,” she wrote. “And wherever it is forced to stay within prearranged categories — whether by zoning, by economic planning, or by guilds, associations or unions — the process of adding new work to old can occur little if at all.”

It’s no accident that the companies that produce the most amazing innovations of our day are largely non-union. The process of adding new work to existing work would be retarded if entrepreneurs must face down unions whenever someone comes up with a new idea that upsets existing arrangements.

Almost as bad as the check-card system is a provision in the bill that would impose binding arbitration when union and management cannot agree on an initial contract.

Normally, it takes several months to a year to achieve an initial contract. But the bill would give both sides only 90 days to reach agreement, after which federal mediators would be called in. If the two sides are still unable to settle, the dispute would go to arbitration.

This would dramatically tip the balance in favor of unions. If management takes a tough line, the union could simply run out the clock, knowing it will likely receive a better deal through the arbitration process — which would be controlled by individuals with no stake in the company’s future.

The secret ballot protects workers from intimidation from both labor and management. It has worked well for decades, and it should be retained.

14 Comments:

At 8:30 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Youre so spot on AC..how easily things with good intentions become self serving and corrupt!

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Unions have gone from the working man's savior to his burden.

I think that in most cases, their time has gone.

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

AC,

We must protect the Democratic party's campaign contributions and ensure that secret ballots are done away with.

...I have always been a supporter of unions, despite their corruption, because workers need representation.

Something like this is very discouraging.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I happen to hold a grudge against unions, for two specific reasons, and the first one is personal. When my father had a life-threatening accident at Ford in Detroit, it took the Union a month of bloomin' Sundays to get my dad's comp money started. My mom had no money to pay the bills and those bastards at the UAW dragged their feet - after my father was a member of that union for over thirty years.

Second reason I hate unions - Unions destroy creative thinkers and also destroy pro-activity. If you sway from your so-called "job description" you get written up. If you work ahead of schedule, or do something out of the norm, you get lambasted.

Unions are about as useless as tits on a nun, IMO. If my company here went Union, I would quit.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

fn...I believe that at one time, unions were indispensable in getting better pay, working conditions, and benefits for millions of workers but I think that time has passed.
They are like little chieftains, greedily holding onto what's left of their empires.

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

My mother - before my dad's accident, used to be shop steward at the blind center where she worked. I can remember meeting a man named Jackie Presser at a union dinner she took us to. I wasn't that impressed because he struck me as being a big mafia guy. Reminded me a lot of Tony Soprano but the dinner was out of this world. I guess that's where union dues went.

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

So while you stopped in over at my site, I posted more info links if ya want to check it more about the Bridge.
Well in any event hope your doing good there AC, doing all this research on shits like CAIR and such would drive me to jump of the bridge!
Over 200 people died jumping off, but I know you wouldn't do that on your next visit.

FTGF!

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

Crusader,
I've never belonged to a union, but my father did (for transit employees).

At first, the union brought benefits for its members--health insurance in particular. Because the union offered health insurance, my father joined the union.

But over the years, the union did a lot of harm. For example, the employees walked out on strike for better wages. After a month of no work, the union announced that the contract had been settled. Was there a pay raise? No! Though the union SAID there would be. In reality, the employees went back to work for lower wages.

Eventually, the union lobbied for the one manager who had astutely put the bus line into the black to be dismissed and for the transit system to become a government concern. Salaries soared, but the quality of mechanical work took a nosedive. My father took an early retirement to get away from the incompetency before somebody got killed as a result of mechanical error.

Isn't the origin of unions communistic/socialistic?

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

AOW asked "
Isn't the origin of unions communistic/socialistic?"

There were trade unions being organized in the American colonies long before Marx and Engels. I'd be willing to bet that Marx saw trade unions as a means of bringing about a socialist revolution but I don't have any references, just conjecture.
Farmer and ducky would probably know a lot more than I do.

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Dan....not a chance. I wouldn't even try base jumping.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Mad Zionist said...

Unions are still living off of the horrid Dickens portrayals of cruel big business taking advantage of the little man back in the 19th century. Truth be told, today the Unions are the evil big business that is destroying the little man while the employers are just being pushed out of business.

 
At 5:59 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Not much to add to the comment thread here as everything has already been said and said better than I could say it. I obviously agree that unions served their purpose once but have now gotten completely out of control. My father belonged to the Steel Worker's Union and I can remember him bitching about the heavy dues he had to pay way back in the fifties. I'm sure they're much higher now.

Steve, the expression is "tits on a wart hog" not "tits on a nun." LOL!

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

No union and far more teachers would leave the profession. As a result the quality might be even lower.

I won't say that with certainty but could it not be true and your objections shortsighted?

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

Ducky,

You must be looking for trouble to mention teachers and quality in the same sentence on this blog. Good luck to you.

Anyways, our Unions need reform - not an added layer of corruption.

 

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