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We Don't Need No Stinking Elections!

Recently, I wrote a piece where I expressed my concerns about organized labor and their influence on the current presidential election. I cited three specific examples: Senator Obama's stated intention of ending the consent decree that has the government overseeing the Teamsters and keeping the corruption to a minimum; the Service Employees International Union shaking down its members for "contributions" to their Political Action Committee, in apparent violation of the law; and the disgustingly-misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," a bill that would strip employees of the right to vote for or against unionizing in a secret ballot.

The bill, as I said, would allow unions to organize by an alternate method. Instead of a vote where each worker could, in private, cast their ballot for or against joining a union without fear of intimidation, the unions could simply collect a signed pledge card from a majority of the workers.

I think it's fairly obvious that this method would supplant the voting method in a majority of cases, as it would be a hell of a lot easier to collect the cards than to try to win a vote.

My main concern was potential intimidation of workers by union organizers, as that has historically been a union tactic. And I see that my concerns were well grounded.

Former union organizer Jennifer Jones, speaking under oath before Congress, told how these "card checks" are conducted:

A "card check" campaign begins with union organizers going to the homes of workers over a weekend, a tactic called "housecalling," with the sole intent of having those workers sign authorization cards. Called a "blitz" by the unions, it entails teams of two or more organizers going directly to the homes of workers. The workers' personal information and home addresses used during the blitz was obtained from license plates and other sources that were used to create a master list.

In most cases, the workers have no idea that there is a union campaign underway. Organizers are taught to play upon this element of surprise to get "into the door." They are trained to perform a five part house call strategy that includes: Introductions, Listening, Agitation, Union Solution, and Commitment. The goal of the organizer is to quickly establish a trust relationship with the worker, move from talking about what their job entails to what they would like to change about their job, agitate them by insisting that management won't fix their workplace problems without a union and finally convincing the worker to sign a card.

At the time, I personally took great pride in the fact that I could always get the worker to sign the card if I could get inside their home. Typically, if a worker signed a card, it had nothing to do with whether a worker was satisfied with the job or felt they were treated fairly by his or her boss. I found that most often it was the skill of the organizer to create issues from information the organizer had extracted from the worker during the "probe" stage of the house call that determined whether the worker signed the card.

I began to realize that the number of cards that were signed had less to do with support for the union and more to do with the effectiveness of the organizer speaking to the workers.

This appears to be consistent with results of secret ballot elections that are conducted in which workers are able to vote and make their final decision free from manipulation, intimidation or pressure tactics from either side.

From my experience, the number of cards signed appear to have little relationship to the ultimate vote count. During a private election campaign, even though a union still sends organizers out to workers' homes on frequent canvassing in attempts to gain support, the worker has a better chance to get perspective on the questions at hand. The time allocated for the election to go forward allows the worker a chance to think through his or her own issues without undue influence--thus avoiding an immediate, impulsive decision based on little or no fact. After all, the decision to join a union is often life-changing, and workers should be afforded the time to debate, discuss and research all of the options available to them.

As an organizer working under a "card check" system versus an election system, I knew that "card check" gave me the ability to quickly agitate a set of workers into signing cards. I did not have to prove the union's case, answer more informed questions from workers or be held accountable for the service record of my union.

(Hat tip: King Banian of Outside The Beltway)

Let's look at this strategy from the viewpoint of the worker. You're at home, relaxing. There's a knock at the door. There are two or more people you've never seen before. They inform you that they're from Union X, and they know all about you. They know where you work, where you live, what car you drive, what your license plate is, and probably a bunch more personal information you'd rather not have shared by complete strangers. They'd like to come in and talk to you. This could be the very first time you've heard that there is an effort to get a union into your workplace, and these people (as she notes, there are at least two of them) want you to decide, right then and there, for now and all time, whether or not you want to join their union. You don't get to hear your employer's position, you probably can't check in with any of your colleagues, and there are these folks in your own home who want an answer now.

Those (like me) who get annoyed at Jehovah's Witnesses showing up at their door need little more convincing.

That these "blitzes" are going on now are troubling -- the unions aren't required to even notify the workers in advance that they might be visited at home by union organizers. But for these "blitzes" to not just lead up to an eventual secret ballot, but supplant it entirely, ought to scare the bejeezus out of anyone with even a fraction of a brain.

This bill is nothing less than an attempt by unions to legalize kidnapping. It would strip workers of their right to say "no" to unions in private, without fear of retribution. The secret ballot is a beautiful thing here -- it insulates the workers from individual retaliation from either side for expressing their preference. Both the employer and the union can engage in collective retaliation against the entire work force, but that has its limitations. For one, it's illegal. For another, as the unions are wont to point out, there is strength in numbers. Without the ability to single out individuals who voted one way or another, the threat of striking back is considerably weakened.

The irony here is appalling. The unions claim to represent the workers, but are working frantically to strip them of their power to act freely and without fear. And they are being aided and abetted by the Democratic party in this move to kill one of the purest expressions of democracy -- the sanctity of the voting booth.

And if you have the slightest doubt about how well the "Employee Free Choice Act" (good god, I want to throw up every time I see or type that monstrosity of a misnaming), just listen to Ms. Jones. She knows precisely how it would work, because she spent years doing it.


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Comments (26)

I'm sure the two or three g... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm sure the two or three guys who show up at your front door probably have nicknames like "Knuckles". Nothing like 'making an offer you can't refuse'.

I'm sure a politican raised on Chicago-style politics would stand up and oppose these people.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

The same principle applies ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

The same principle applies to party caucuses as opposed to democratic primary elections--which is most likely the reason Obama is the Democrat candidate and not Hillary.

It is also the one of the many reasons the term "democratic" in no way applies to the Democrat Party.

Democrats are so against pi... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Democrats are so against picture identification for elections. It infringes and intimidates, but they are fore strangers showing up at the door letting the person know they have all the information they need about him. What a lying sack of garbage the democratic leadership is. How do they look at themselves in the mirror? ww

The telephone is so imperso... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

The telephone is so impersonal, I like the hands-on touch you only get with hired goons.

Hired goons?

- Last Exit to Springfield


No surprise someone who thrives at Chicago politics would sell out individuals for the machine.

The article doesn't begin t... (Below threshold)
kevino:

The article doesn't begin to explain the reality. GarandFan has it right: unions - particularly in big cities - hire union "organizers" and "consultants" that enforce the union boss's will and keep the peasants in line by bullying those who stand up to the union.

I was at a Gore2000 rally in NH and ran into a liberal associate who had brought his young son to write a paper for school about the rally. He pointed to a well-dressed huge guy that was part of the security for the event. My associate said he was Secret Service. I corrected him by saying in a loud voice so that everyone around us could hear, "He's not Secret Service. That suit's too expensive. The shoes are too nice. And he's too obvious. He's a union bone-breaker. If you vote against the union or try to make trouble, you'll end working late on night, and he and a couple of his friends will meet you in the parking lot to explain to you what you're doing wrong. See the pin on lapel? I'll bet he's AFL-CIO. Go ask him." (His father wouldn't let him.)

The funny thing is that when I said it, no one argued with me: they all hung their heads in shame. They knew it was true. That's exactly how the system works. And when the Gore2000 campaign needed security to make sure trouble-makers (e.g. the guys dresses as Buddhist monks with sacks of play money) stay away, the unions sent their professional thugs.

And if you're a member of a union that doesn't have a secret ballot, your union's elections are about as free as elections in the old USSR or IRAQ under Saddam Hussein.

And the Democratic Party supports this? Heh. I'm not surprised.

Personally, I can't imagine... (Below threshold)

Personally, I can't imagine some clown showing up at my door, unannounced, who wants to weasel his way inside my door to talk to me about my employment. I value my privacy very highly, and I would like to think I would send the idiot packing, but who knows, it sounds like the blitzers are more devious than that.

And Jay's right, the name of this monstrosity, the "Employee Free Choice Act" is a misrepresentation of Orwellian proportions, almost as bad as "Fairness Doctrine."

The same principle ap... (Below threshold)

The same principle applies to party caucuses as opposed to democratic primary elections--which is most likely the reason Obama is the Democrat candidate and not Hillary.

Excellent point P bunyan, and Kevino has it right also. No secret ballot, no fair election.

The link below illustrates who makes the rules on this matter for the Dems.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A

Jay, I'm not going to take ... (Below threshold)

Jay, I'm not going to take the time to take apart your latest antiunion rant piece by piece here. But, you can certainly preview my reasoned arguments in favor of The Employee Free Choice Act which is currently running over at my Progressive Values website and will run on Wizbang Blue within a day.

The Employee Free Choice Act has wide bipartisan support in Congress for one thing, and is really aimed at putting more teeth into federal laws that prevent illegal wiretapping, illegal interception of employee Emails or threats to employees who are considering forming a labor union.

A good example is a nursing home in Oregon which was found guilty of using illegal wiretapping of employees to fire any employees who might be interested in forming a labor union. In other cases, nonunion nursing homes have hired sex offenders who abused the patients they were supposed to care for, and any workers who complained about these criminal acts lost their jobs, while the sex offenders were allowed to keep theirs. In a unionized nursing home, there are job protections against the wrongful termination of workers who report serious crimes like sex abuse. In other cases, criminals with a history of theft have robbed patients of jewelry or cash. All of this is far less likely in unionized nursing homes.

The Employee Free Choice Act simply puts more teeth in federal laws that outlaw a wide range of criminal conduct that are still common in some bad workplaces that prevent employees from deciding for themselves whether they wish to unionize or not no matter how you might misrepresent this issue to your readers. Your arguments against The Employee Free Choice are simply intellectually dishonest at best.

Paul, didn't you rec... (Below threshold)
Maggie:


Paul, didn't you recently admit you've
never been a union member?
Yet you go on about unions like they're
full of saints and angels.
As if there's never been any law breakers
as union members either.

The Mafia would love you.

Having been a card carrying union member for
some 22 years, I can tell you some facts
that would make the hair on the back of your
neck stand up.

The amount of corruption, cronyism, and illegal
behaviour is as deep as the hole Hoffa found himself buried in.

You want to defend the "goodness" of modern
unions by all means do so. But don't carry on
like they walk on water.

Maggie, there certainly are... (Below threshold)

Maggie, there certainly are many existing laws that are enforceable against any criminal conduct of anyone who is corrupt in labor who is involved in theft, etc.

The Employee Free Choice Act however deals with entirely different labor issues and is supported by a bipartisan group of legislators including New York Rep. Peter King, a Republican, are the main sponsors of this legislation who are attempting to put more teeth into existing federal laws for criminal violations of the law by businesses while workers are in the process of deciding whether or not to unionize or are involved in a first labor contract.

I think it is real stretch of the truth for Mr. Tea to somehow compare that if a majority of union members send in signed authorizations to the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB) stating that they wish to be represented by a union with some claim that "We don't need no stinking elections!". Provisions of The Employee Free Choice Act requires the NLRB to establish some system to certify that each one of these signed intentions by employees were actually their own free will and choice, eliminating any charges that anyone was pressured to sign the authorizations. This is only a slight security change from the elections of the past that some employers have illegally manipulated. The voting method has simply been changed to add more security to the process. That's all.

If the NLRB is authorized to establish some system to ensure that each returned card is representing the free will of the employee who signed, then it eliminates the illegal interference from anyone, union or management.

"In other cases, nonunio... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"In other cases, nonunion nursing homes have hired sex offenders who abused the patients they were supposed to care for, and any workers who complained about these criminal acts lost their jobs, while the sex offenders were allowed to keep theirs"

I call bullshit on this one. Maybe, if it was in Oregon, Massachusettes, or Vermont but even then it's remarkably unlikely. Plus if they were "union" nursing homes the unions surely would have protected the sex offenders from being fired.

In any case, I'd bet the farm that no way is Hooson telling more than a tiny part of the story. Of course that's nothing new.

So let's see if I've got th... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

So let's see if I've got this straight -

Instead of companies allowing a secret ballot in the workplace so the WORKERS can decide for themselves whether they want to unionize - the unions will go out and 2-on-1 the workers AT THEIR HOMES, asking them to sign cards - IN THEIR PRESENCE - to unionize the workplace. No time to think about it, just sign the card and they'll get out of your home. "Gee, you got a lot of nice things here - it'd be a shame if anything happened due to the workers not going for a union! Just sign here, and we'll be gone!"

Oh yeah, that's got NO possible potential for abuse! What are we all worried about! Paul says it's okay, so where's the problem?

The unions did do good work back in the early 20th Century, and got a lot of things done that would otherwise have been ignored... but lately? They're doing more harm than good. And I don't see unionizing at the point of a metaphorical gun to be all that beneficial to the workers, but it'll sure line the pockets of the union leaders.

So what would union membership be the historical equivalent of these days - serfdom, slavery, or an indentured contract? You've got to give 'em your money, you have no say in what's done with it... sounds like a feudal setup to me!

"The Employee Free Choic... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The Employee Free Choice Act has wide bipartisan support in Congress for one thing, and is really aimed at putting more teeth into federal laws that prevent illegal wiretapping, illegal interception of employee Emails or threats to employees who are considering forming a labor union."

Because we all know that when current laws aren't being enforced the answer is to take away the sanctity of the voting booth (as Jay perfectly describes it).

13 Republicans in Congress voted aye. You call that "wide bi-partisan support"?

"The Employee Free Choic... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The Employee Free Choice Act however deals with entirely different labor issues and is supported by a bipartisan group of legislators..."

1 Sponsors...........1[D]
233 Co-sponsors....226[D] and 7[R]

The Gang of Fourteen they ain't.

You might want to strike the whole emphasis on bi-partisanship in your re-write for WizBlue.

Paul:RE: "The Empl... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Paul:

RE: "The Employee Free Choice Act has wide bipartisan support in Congress."

The Senate cloture vote last year failed on a straight party-line vote. Not one single republican supported the House bill as written, and none of the Democrats voted against it.

RE: "Is really aimed at putting more teeth into federal laws that prevent illegal wiretapping, illegal interception of employee Emails or threats to employees who are considering forming a labor union."

This a very poor attempt to gloss-over the raw corruption this bill encourages. The first two parts are amusing. The purpose of the law is to make something that is already illegal more illegal, and then you tell Maggie that there are already laws to prevent corruption of union officials.

The last part implies that the purpose of the law is to prevent threats to employees who are considering forming a union, but the law encourages threats to employees who are considering not joining a union.

Finally, please try to stay on point: what we object to here is taking away the secret ballot. An election without a secret ballot does not respect the privacy rights of the individual and opens the entire election process to intimidation, bribery, and fraud. If you cannot support the concept of a secret ballot, how do you call your self a "Democrat"?

Years ago my wife worked fo... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Years ago my wife worked for a children's song and dance studio here in California. One night when the owner was closing up the place two burley ASCAP union members walked in and talked to her about paying off the union for the right to play music at her studio. They had a file on her, also, and they knew she was alone in the studio. She felt very intimidated by their strong arm tactics. Decades ago my grandfather worked like a dog to get the union into the canning plant he worked in Iowa. Right after the union held it's vote and gained representation they had m grandfather fired and a new organiser from Chicago took over. I had one job in my life where there was a union, and I had no choice to opt out of paying their dues, even though I was taking the job after hours to pay down my personal debt, they got their percentage, whether I joined or didn't.
I personally have never had any positive union influence in my life.

tyree, I had my own experie... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

tyree, I had my own experience with ASCAP when I owned a CD shop several years ago. They tried to get me to pay up because I played the music I sold on a couple speakers at the counter, I allowed customers to listen to CDs before they bought them and I had local bands play in the store on weekends to promote their music.

I had a strict rule that local bands had to play only original music and invited the ASCAP rep several times to come listen. He never showed. After several visits by their reps and letters of intimidation I continued to hold my ground and they finally laid off me. I have to wonder if they thought they could bully me because I was a woman. My husband offered to step in and I wouldn't let him because I knew I was right.

I will welcome into my hous... (Below threshold)
longstreet:

I will welcome into my house to view my Bible and .45 collection.

Paul,You managed to ... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Paul,
You managed to waltz right round what I posted,
mumbling something or other about generic laws
that apply.
What goes on inside of a union shop, or mfg complex is totally outside of the 'laws'.
Why? Because things dropping out of pipe racks
have a way of guaranteeing silence and compliance
as a whole.
You continue to live in your dream world, and
the Mafia will love you more.

Paul, unlike you, I've been... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Paul, unlike you, I've been a union member (UAW and AFSCME).
When I worked for HD, the UAW wasn't too bad, as unions go, but just down the street they helped drive CAT out of town. They asked us to strike with them out of solidarity, but we (UAW shop at HD) knew they were killing the goose rather than fighting the good fight. But I wasn't in the union out of desire or need, but because that is what you had to do to work in the factory.
Same thing with the AFSCME. To work for Bradlee's dept store, you had to belong to the union. I became shop steward, not to protect the people from Bradlees but to protect us from the union (OK, 80/20 split. Bradlees f*cked us too, but rarely without a union pimp watching to make sure they got their cut). Only full time workers could vote on union issues, and whenever the union negotiated with the chain, they took things away from the part timers to give or keep better perks for the full timers. And there was no serious effort to get more full timers on the books...
The union dues were the same for a 16 hour a week person or a 40 hour a week person.
The union liked part timers, since they paid in just as much as full timers, but had no say in how the money was spent or in contract negotiations. If my store needed 60-70 full time bodies to staff, the union would prefer 150-200 part timers, since their income from dues would be higher.
The store also like part timers, since they cost less and were excluded from the juiciest concessions. When the part timers lost time and a half on Sundays and holidays, I gave up my supervisor job and washed my hands of it all.
Neither the union nor the regional manager were sad to see me go (though my store managers were), and the fellow I had replaced took up the job again.

Now, the only job I've ever had where I wanted a union (and some, like mining, still need unions IMO) was when I worked for the Senate of PA Democratic Caucus. 70 hour weeks, no compensation in time or money for going past 40 hours. No reimbursement for travel (from Harrisburg to Philly or P-burg was common). On my first day I was told there was no union, and any talk of a union would result in immediate termination, no debate, no appeal. The democrats, you see, were at-will employers. :)
I should have known then and there to run for the hills.

Oyster:That sounds l... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Oyster:
That sounds like the ASCAP goons. There was even a write up about their methods in the paper. The business was women owned and run, so the owner was almost never left to close on her own. The two times the union goons showed up, she was alone and getting ready to lock the doors for the night. Their methods had "intimidation" written all over.

"The Employee Free Choice A... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"The Employee Free Choice Act has wide bipartisan support in Congress for one thing, and is really aimed at putting more teeth into federal laws that prevent illegal wiretapping, illegal interception of employee Emails..."

So why not address those alleged short-comings in the current relevant laws? Because this sounds so good no one will notice that the secret ballot got taken away.

Sorry Paul, it's bullshit. Can I make that any plainer so that you, as a "Progressive" can understand? Wouldn't want to cause you any undue workload in parsing what I meant.

The Employee Free ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
The Employee Free Choice Act however deals with entirely different labor issues and is supported by a bipartisan group of legislators including New York Rep. Peter King, a Republican, are the main sponsors of this legislation who are attempting to put more teeth into existing federal laws for criminal violations of the law by businesses while workers are in the process of deciding whether or not to unionize or are involved in a first labor contract.

That's just one sentence ..... :-D

And, Paul, since you apparently don't know, employers ARE permitted to lay out a case against a union. Since they have the right to do so, Walmart is not lying when they claim to not have intimidated anyone. Your Walmart post - as written - is full of errors.

Now, if you are claiming CRIMINAL action on the part of WalMart, I suggest you follow up with the local authorities.

Voter intimidation will mov... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Voter intimidation will move from the unions to the national voting booth really fast. That's what the National Civilian Security Force, equipped and funded equal to the military is designed (by Hussein) to do. More Chavez/communist/Islamist tactics learned by the democrats. Today's shut down of the house by Kim Jung 'Hugo' Peeloshi is just a start. Who said she didn't learn anything while she was kissing a** in Syria? Time to buy more guns and ammo, lots of ammo, lots of powder, primers and loading dies. Maybe time to learn (from the terrorists) the method of making effective IED's. Do they have an instruction manual out, or do you blow yourself up learning?

My father worked in a non u... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

My father worked in a non union shop and after a few talks at our home ( about 4) he voted to join the Union. It was great. His pay was reduced he paid union dues, he also had to train another person to take his job because that person was with the company longer than he was. Since then he never voted for another union and many others who see unions for the temples to mediocrity, graft, corruption and intimidate that they are. Given a free choice many people will not join a union and membership has been declining. SO now they need some way to increase the membership. Since Unions are big time donors to political campaigns well guess who has a vital interest in sponsoring this bill?

I would bet you almost all the R that sponsor it are in heavy unionized districts.
Recently BI=partisan bill make me very weary
Macain Feingold
Kennedy-Mcain

I think when I hear Bi par it means grab you wallet and hold on to your freedom.

hcddbz:As of 2006 ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

hcddbz:

As of 2006 the top 4 most unionized states were HI, NY, AK and NJ. 9 of the 13 republicans who voted aye are from NY, AK and NJ. Hawaii, of course, only has two reps and both are Dems and both voted aye.

Hope that clears things up for you:)




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