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Double Standards

Well, it seems that a bunch of people are all a-twitter about news that Wal-Mart doesn't like the disgustingly=misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," (EFCA) and actually paid attention to campaign promises -- a lot of Democrats are backing this measure, which -- among other things -- will strip workers of the right to decide whether or not to unionize by secret ballot.

Wal-Mart's logic is simple: they believe that the bill will make it easier for unions to organize their workers. They believe that bringing in unions would increase their labor costs. And they also believe that if their labor costs go up, they will not just "suck it up" but rather would cut costs to make up the difference -- probably by cutting back on hiring.

So Wal-Mart figured they'd tell their management types their opinion, and their rough plans. And they might have hinted that those employees would be doing themselves a favor if they took some kind of action to defeat the EFCA.

Fortunately, Wal-Mart has no way of enforcing these recommendations, or even making sure that their employees vote the way Wal-Mart wants them to vote. That's because we voters still have the right to vote in secret, to express our preferences in the sanctity of the voting booth, and no one can call us to account for not voting the way they would prefer. This is one thing that separates Americans in general and workers if the EFCA becomes law.

As I said, this has a lot of people all in a dither, accusing Wal-Mart of trying to influence the election.

In the meantime, another group with a hefty interest in EFCA is spending literally millions of dollars to get it passed. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is, by far, the biggest player in the world of "527" interest groups, by several million dollars.

But that isn't enough. They also have a Political Action Committee, that's begging for money.

But that still isn't enough. The SEIU has deicded that its members need to "contribute" more money to the PAC in addition to the Union (which gives a lot to its PAC already). So they've demanded a "contribution" from each and every local equal to $6.00 per member. And if they don't pony up, they will be assessed a fine equal to 150% of whatever they fall short.

Gee, and here I thought "contributions" to political action committees were supposed to be strictly voluntary.

Remember how this works: when an employer tells its employees who it is planning to react to proposed legislation, that is BAD and CORRUPT and COERCIVE and EVIL and TAMPERING WITH THE ELECTORAL PROCESS. But when a union demands -- under threats of fines and, eventually, expulsion from the uion -- that its members fund not only the union, but the union's political action committee, that's... um....

Dang. I dunno what the unions and their apologists are calling it, because they're not talking about it. It's like it doesn't exist. It's the elephant (or, rather, the donkey) in the room, that nobody wants to talk about.

Anyway, if they won't talk about it, I guess I'll try to give it a justification. Let's see... how about "the unions are merely acting in the workers' best interests, helping them resist their evil employers' intimidation and simplifying the process of unionizing, and they're doing so in a courageous fashion, not letting such things as the workers' own wishes and the law get in the way."

Nah. Too candid, no honest. It'd never fly.


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Comments (28)

I'm sure Paul can put the p... (Below threshold)

I'm sure Paul can put the proper positive spin on the unions extorting PAC money from the membership. Hey, maybe they should send "reach out" groups to employees homes. Show up with a 'donation can' in hand. That way they could immediately and properly thank each person who 'voluntarily contributed' to the union cause.

Wal-Mart seems to be follow... (Below threshold)
Codekeyguy Author Profile Page:

Wal-Mart seems to be following good economic and business policy: Usually when an American company's costs (any costs, not just payroll) go up, the first place they "reduce" costs is payroll just to maintain the profit margin (Stupid, but the "Peter Principle" rules American management). Wal-mart at least is saying "if our PAYROLL costs go up, then we will adjust that cost". But, in Union America, anything that affects the worker is EEEEEVIL. Communism anyone? (Paul H. to be calling in soon.....))

Take a look around at the m... (Below threshold)

Take a look around at the most ineffective industries, airlines, steel, auto, government, public schools, etc and what do they all have in common? UNIONS?

Unions make no sense whatsoever, why should the guy with the greatest length of service get paid the most? The most productive should get paid the most, and Walmart or any other company should have the right to run their business as they see fit. NO ONE forces people to work there right?

Human Rights Watch has long... (Below threshold)

Human Rights Watch has long been critical of Wal-Mart which takes full advantage of weak American labor laws which make it virtually impossible for the 1.3 million employees of American's largest retailer to ever hope to unionize. In addition, Wal-Mart continues to use a variety of both legal and illegal means to prevent their workforce from unionizing. It is no wonder that Wal-Mart continues as the biggest retailer in America with $351 billion in revenue in 2007, topping the Fortune 500 list once again, while most Wal-Mart workers struggle to afford rent, gasoline, health care or food for their families on minimum Wal-Mart wage incomes. Many Wal-Mart employees have to accept Food Stamps, public health care or some other government sponsored welfare in order to survive. Taxpayers have to subsidize the low wages and lack of benefits that Wal-Mart pays, while the management of Wal-Mart brings home millions in pay and billions in corporate profits. Wal-Mart expoits the taxpayer by forcing them to pay their labor costs and costs of doing business that they refuse to pay. Wal-Mart is simply not a good public citizen.

The early days of the American Revolution promised upward mobility to workers if they would only move to the cities and become dependent on others for jobs and give up their farms and self-dependent lifestyles. Instead, many workers in America continue to live below the poverty line in a relationship hardly much better than the classic days of the slave and slave owner. Yet, because of a lack of class-conscious struggle by most American workers, many workers are not radicalized like their counterparts in Europe to throw off this oppression and only allow themselves to be continually exploited by their oppressors. But the tactics of Wal-Mart make even unionizing by their employees impossible. This company is expert at wage exploitation of their employees.

Just because the chains of slavery around the necks of many forced into poverty in America in some low paying dead-end minumum wage jobs is invisible doesn't mean that it's not still there hanging around their necks. Wal-Mart is a blowback to the bad old days of the Company Store.

Unlike employers in most other American companies who believe in a fair wages for a fair days work, Wal-Mart's upper management believes that their road to wealth should come from the worst methods of exploitation of their emloyees to boost profits and continue to open new stores and push out other businesses. Wal-Mart currently has over 4,000 stores, and has plans to go into many more communities and economically destroy their competition and take over the market in those areas, drive down wages in those communities, and become more powerful.

Wal-Mart is like an alien predator, it devours other businesses and ruins the American Dream hopes of anyone caught working there who is not top management and who doesn't share in it's wealth. When other businesses are economically destroyed in some small community, and Wal-Mart becomes the only source of jobs in that community, workers watch their wages cut and freedom of choice of where to shop disappears. Wal-Mart doesn't represent free market economics, it represents one seller control of all business and all wages in some smaller communities. It's the closest thing to a Soviet-era Communist economic system of complete economic control of the lives of all involved in some smaller communities that America will ever witness. No one in their right mind can call this good.

Hooson, I smell a few bovin... (Below threshold)

Hooson, I smell a few bovine steaming piles in that comment.

Just how many is your definition of "Many Wal-Mart employees have to accept Food Stamps, public health care or some other government sponsored welfare in order to survive."

Got a verifiable number out of 1.2 million Wall-Mart workers or is that one of your patented anal extractions?

And BTW, considering you do your own form of market manipulation, not to mention hurting American workers, via all the cheap-assed Chinese crap you sell one would think you'd be in support of Wal-Mart.

Guess not huh?

Paul,That is a first... (Below threshold)

That is a first, WalMart being labeled communistic in behaviour. A real hoot!
The people who work at and shop Walmart are
not forced to do so.
There are many locations where Walmart has been
squeezed out, such as in Texas City, Texas.
Walmart has been censored in where and how they
can build in California.
They are not the be all of evil you paint them.
And if you'll notice if you ever go inside of
one there are other businesses running inside
of the building such as banks, and fast food
And as an aside, I do not work for Walmart, never have, nor do I own any stock in Walmart.

Paul, rather than to contin... (Below threshold)

Paul, rather than to continue to look silly, why don't you spend a few minutes looking up what an employer can legally do in response to the possibility of a union being organized? They are not required to remain silent.

Your continued attempt to equate all employer comments with "intimidation" is sinking any hope of you being taken seriously.

Just took a moment to check... (Below threshold)

Just took a moment to check in on the latest postings on the subject at Wizbang Blue - where, of course, they can complain with impunity about what is printed here because they have banned anyone who might disagree.

One question did occur to me, however. Lee claims to have been a union member. Paul freely admits that he never has been.

Well being a union member and being in on the organization of union in the workplace for the first time are two very different things.

It's quite possible that Paul and Lee are not being as blindly partisian as they appear to be and simply don't understand the process that they so sure is harmless despite the fact it deprives workers of a secret vote.

My workplace recently went through the process for the first time in its history. The first union that approached the workers to represent them proved to be so flaky that the employees rejected them without a vote and went shopping for another.

When they found another, they followed the process currently in place. It took a YEAR - and a number of hearings - to determine which employees actually were eligible to vote on whether or not to have a vote for the union.

That year gave the people organizing the opportunity to refine their objectives and to determine exactly what they wanted their union representation to be. It also gave them the chance to meet with other affected employees who were ineligible to join their union and to gain their input.

If they had been stuck with the first union because of a quick vote, they actually would have been in worse shape than if there was no union at all. That's what the CURRENT process gave them an opportunity to do.

EFCA is a horrible idea, an... (Below threshold)
LiveFreeOrDie Author Profile Page:

EFCA is a horrible idea, and I hope it gets the boot.

But Walmart can kiss my ass. They actively lobbied for the minimum wage increase which basically every economist on the planet says does nothing to help low end wages, and only hurts competition.

So again, EFCA is bad. Really bad. Plus, it won't tame the corporate beast, as the left thinks it will (which is too bad, because they do need kicked in the nethers). But screw Walmart.

Anyone with even half good ... (Below threshold)

Anyone with even half good sense should be angry that they have to go to work to pay taxes for deadbeat corporations such as Wal-Mart to subsidize their very poor wages and benefits compared to most other American corporations whose employees are actually earning enough that they are a tax asset, not a cost.

Only 24 states have compiled studies of the taxpayer cost for public health care for Wal-Mart employees, but Wal-Mart Watch found that Wal-Mart employees and their families are the largest group of employed persons requiring taxpayer funded public health care in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hamshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsyvania, Tennessee Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington state. Only California did not find Wal-Mart employess to be the largest group of employed persons to seek taxpayer funded public health care. But in the other 23 states this includes thousands of enrolled Wal-Mart employees and family members enrolled in Medicaid, Public Assistance, Schip, Chip, Badgercare, Low-Income Health Plan, Peachcare & other state run taxpayer funded health care programs.

Wal-Mart's own claimed health insurance program requires six months for full time employees to qualify and one year for part time employees, plus $1,000 medical deductibles for imdividuals and $3,000 medical deductibles for families, thereby virtually insuring that few workers will opt for such an absurd claimed health care benefit. This only drives Wal-Mart employees and their families to welfare offices by the thousands in every state to seek public health care benefits. What doctors office is going to charge $1,000 for an office visit like the Wal-Mart health care plan deductible. Such a health plan doesn't really cover anything but some serious hospital stay if an employee can even qualify for the benefits.

High deductibles are a way for dishonest insurance companies to avoid having to pay for anything. Some renters did $70,000 in assorted damages to one of my rental homes. Since the insurance company considered each broken window or act of property damage as a seperate event with a seperate $1,000 deductible, rather than take the entire extent of renter damage as a whole, the insurance company was able to avoid paying even one red cent for the damage. Many normal health care plans may have a $50 deductible or less for office visits etc., not some crazy $1,000 deductible like the phony Wal-Mart plan.

Nationally Costco covers 80% of their employees with company paid for health care, while nationally 67% of all companies with 200 or more employees pay for the health insurance of their employees. But Wal-Mart leaves most of that cost up to the taxpayer. Some cheapskates and skinflints here seem to be bemoaning the fact that a labor union is asking for some $6 political donation when some union workers actually earn in excess of $60 an hour in some skilled professions. The fact of the matter is that Wal-Mart is in to everyone's wallet here for much more than $6 a year to subsidize their awful wages and lack of real health care benefits. Anyone half smart should be able to understand that fact.

In addition, you do know that The Employee Free Choice Act requires the National Labor Relations Board to establish a system to verify that every card returned by an employee stating their intent that they seek union representation is done by their own free will, with neither employer nor union strongarming, don't you? This nonsense that "free elections" are being done away with is false. The system is just being changed a little to prevent employees from being intimidated during voting at their workplace. The NLRB will have to ensure that such a system is honest before any labor union is certified. There are plenty of safeguards in this legislation to ensure that.

As far as crime goes, very few union members have been indicted for crimes compared to white collar crimes. Most union associations with crime took place in the late 1960's and mostly with only the Teamsters Union, while white collar crime is estimated to cost the United States as much as $300 billion each year. Anyone seen a scam Email, been bilked by a scam business, or lost funds recently and needed help from the BBB or their state attorney general to get their money back? By comparison can anyone here claim that they lost even one cent to some dishonest labor union?

Many larger businesses are part of strong lobby or business trade groups that add to the cost of every item you purchase when you buy something from them. There are 66 lobbyists in Washington for every member of congress currently, and most are associated with some business or business group, rather than some labor union group by far. Wal-Mart has one of the largest lobby organizations of any business in Washington, and Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton continues to almost entirely fund many 527's all by herself with millions of dollars in funds every election cycle. If anyone thinks that all these political contibutions or lobby efforts are not costing them more for goods when they shop at Wal-Mart, then they are just fooling themselves.

All of this antiunion nonsense is built on so much B.S. and myths. Few real facts support this nonsense. Even antiunion lobby groups like the one run by millionaire lobbyist Rick Berman, The Center For Union Facts, has great difficulty coming up with few real facts to justify his multimillion campaigns against labor unions, largely funded by the alcohol or tobacco industry, with some of his donors known convicted racketeers.

For someone who has never b... (Below threshold)

For someone who has never been a union member Paul, you do spout long winded pap about them.
How much do they pay you to propagandize for
When Sheffield Steel still used to be in
operation over in Houston, one of my good
friends dad was the vice president of operations.
When the steel mill needed to shut down for
repairs, or just to cut some cost he'd contact
his buddy over at the union shop and tell him
they needed to go on strike. Real kosher of
In my union the secretary ran off with a safe
full of money. It was hushed up and the creep
was never charged.
You need to stop purporting unions walk on
water Paul.

Hooson - "Some cheapska... (Below threshold)

Hooson - "Some cheapskates and skinflints here seem to be bemoaning the fact that a labor union is asking for some $6 political donation when some union workers actually earn in excess of $60 an hour in some skilled professions."

So... some are cheapskates and skinflints because they dislike paying 6 bucks to many organizations that turn around and pump the millions collected into political campaigns for persons and initiatives an individual would never support.

That's a real HOOT coming from someone who has never been a union member!

I will also note you never answered my original query on the number of Wal-Mart employees on wellfair.

No Hooson giving unlinked quotes from Wal-Mart Watch doesn't cut it, they have pumped out more misinformat6ion and outright lies than Ober-Fool over at MSNBC.

Try again.

Marc, I would gladly offer ... (Below threshold)

Marc, I would gladly offer you a nonunion, minimum wage, benefits free job shining my shoes or cleaning my toilet any day.

I've been a businessman since the age of 23, and have joined business organizations such as the BBB, and I just happen to believe that working people should also have the same right to belong to organizations that look out for their interests like unions as well.

I spent my day talking to a real estate man looking to buy some commercial properties for business investments today. How did you spend your day, Marc?

Paul Hooson, by the numbers... (Below threshold)

Paul Hooson, by the numbers:

Number of comments made in response to my three articles touching on the EFCA in the last week: 8

Total number of words in said comments: 3.398

Total number of articles he's written on the subject himself: 2 (Counting his anti-Wal-Mart screed)

Total word count of those articles: 1,782.

Total word count of Mr. Hooson's comments related to EFCA: 5,180

Number of mentions of the EFCA removing the requirement of a secret-ballot election from the process of workers organizing to join a union: ZERO

Amount of time in minutes, by his own admsision, Mr. Hooson has been a member of a union: ZERO

Number of diversionary issues, red herrings, boogeymen, condsecending dismissiveness, appeals to his non-existent status as an authority figure, undocumented horror stories, and various and sundry evasive tactics buried in those 5,180 words: somewhere between 3.4 and 5.2 metric assloads.

Odds that Mr. Hooson will ever mention the removal of the mandatory secret ballot provision in the EFCA, let alone defend it and give any reason why it is such a good idea: somewhat less than 0.0001%.

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Paul, the more you talk, th... (Below threshold)

Paul, the more you talk, the more I question whether you have ever even had insurance (property or health insurance). You really seem to have no knowledge of how it works.

Which, of course, makes me wonder if you have ever had an employee. Given your support of cheap Chinese goods made by employees who earn so little that they couldn't afford to buy anything at Walmart, I would wonder - if you had ever had an employee - what type of benefits you would have offered to them.

Someone in the Legislation ... (Below threshold)

Someone in the Legislation must have a sense of humor...

Employee Free Choice Act Legislation


Move two letters...

There's no use arguing with... (Below threshold)

There's no use arguing with Paul. For him, unions are paragons of virtue. That they're there to pull government into the equation to force any business they're involved in to do what Company X down the street does (even though Company X isn't even unionized) doesn't bother him in the least.

The original intent and purpose of unions was to fight for work safety and "fair" wages and put an end to extreme practices companies engaged in. Now it's just to promote many extreme demands in the other direction.

Case in point:
My father was in a union for 30 years. He worked for BellSouth. One of the guys he worked with was caught working in his wife's business while on company time. All BellSouth was allowed to do, because of the union, was to offer him counseling - at their cost. The second time he was caught they were allowed to suspend him from work for 7 days with pay. Next up they caught him using his BellSouth truck to drive out of state to pick up goods and deliver them to his wife's business. But because this was seen as a different offense, he was again only to be counseled. Over the years this man has been caught committing all manner of offenses and he still works there. They can't get rid of him. The union won't let them.

Second case:
We never know when a transformer will blow or a storm will come in and do damage to phone lines so it was a practice that during holidays when most people were off BellSouth would ask employees to volunteer to be on-call in case of emergency. They would receive full pay just to be near a phone and be prepared to come in if necessary. This wasn't enough for the union. BellSouth was forced to give an on-call employee double time and a half for their 'inconvenience'.

These are only two of the many stories I heard from my father and all are examples of union overkill. And we wonder why our phone bill is so high.

"By comparison can anyone here claim that they lost even one cent to some dishonest labor union?"

I'd say a good deal of the high prices we pay for many goods is directly related to union practices and demands.

Oyster, that's two comments... (Below threshold)

Oyster, that's two comments in less than a week that are absolute pearls, if you can pardon the pun. Bravo.

Personally, I think Mr. Tea... (Below threshold)

Personally, I think Mr. Tea's comment at #14 was the best I've seen in a while. It was clever, hilariously funny, factual, and right on the money.

I was going to make an upda... (Below threshold)

I was going to make an update about a posting and thread by Lee on the subject on the dark side, but this thread pretty much covers it all. He's a lot less wordy than Paul on the subject, but just as oblivious to the seriousness of losing secret ballots as a required mechanism.

As far as the garbage about WalMart employees needing to use public funds for health care, I'd rather have them working at WalMart than collecting unemployment. When WalMart closes local business, at least part of the blame lies to the local business community failing to plan, provide services in an environment their customers desire, and provide enough jobs to satisfy demand.

The threat of a Home Depot in our community raised services and dropped prices in our local hardware stores well in advance of the Home Depot opening. It will be interesting to see how things thresh out.

hooson - "I spent my da... (Below threshold)

hooson - "I spent my day talking to a real estate man looking to buy some commercial properties for business investments today. How did you spend your day, Marc?"

Conversing with an idiot.

Jay, you knew full well tha... (Below threshold)

Jay, you knew full well that any attacks on fair wages or labor would only incite me to respond.

To me, fair wages for a fair day's work is an important moral and religious issue. Anything thing less is evil in my moral view.

Jay, you knew full... (Below threshold)
Jay, you knew full well that any attacks on fair wages or labor would only incite me to respond.

And respond you did - just not to what Jay actually was discussing which was his opposition to a bill that would cheat American workers out of their right to a vote in secret.

To me, fair wages for a fair day's work is an important moral and religious issue. Anything thing less is evil in my moral view.

Unless, apparently, the laborer is Chinese.

Hey Paul, I spent my day ge... (Below threshold)

Hey Paul, I spent my day getting a property I actually bought Friday ready for renting. Does that qualify me to discuss the issue? Or does talking to a real estate man only qualify you as a expert on unions?

When the big 3 (Ford, Chrys... (Below threshold)
John S:

When the big 3 (Ford, Chrysler, and GM) go bankrupt in the next 12 months and all remaining production is sold to the Chinese, the American Union movement will finally be dead. Meanwhile, is it possible to ban the bloggers from "Blue" from posting here? Being left-wing jackasses, they are quick to censor any dissention on their blog. So they should STFU here.

The service workers constit... (Below threshold)

The service workers constitute crazy Harry Reids largest constituency.These were the people supervising the casino workers votes during the democratic caucuses.
They are the largest flock of mindless sheep south of Wyoming.
They want very much to tell you how to spend your money and live your life.

It's ironic how conservativ... (Below threshold)
John Bryans Fontaine:

It's ironic how conservatives never mention that it is the company which can demand the secret ballot. The Corporate Fascists, curiosly in league with Communist China through ChinaMart, never admit this:

From the WSJ:

Both supporters and opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act believe it would simplify and speed labor's ability to unionize companies. Currently, companies can demand a secret-ballot election to determine union representation. Those elections often are preceded by months of strident employer and union campaigns.

Under the proposed legislation, companies could no longer have the right to insist on one secret ballot. Instead, the Free Choice, or "card check," legislation would let unions form if more than 50% of workers simply sign a card saying they want to join. It is far easier for unions to get workers to sign cards because the organizers can approach workers repeatedly, over a period of weeks or months, until the union garners enough support.

Employers argue that the card system could lead to workers being pressured to sign by pro-union colleagues and organizers. Unions counter that it shields workers from pressure from their employers.

The Corporate Fasc... (Below threshold)
The Corporate Fascists, curiosly in league with Communist China through ChinaMart, never admit this

Are you referring to Paul?






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