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Card Check: We've Seen This Movie Before

Kurt Vonnegut in a lecture once sketched out the plot line of the majority of the world's stories on a graph: The line goes up, great good fortune. Then the line goes down - "Oh, hell," in Vonnegut's words, and then the line goes back up again, victory. He stands back, looks pensively at the blackboard on which he has sketched this simple "up-down-up" graph, points to it and shakes his head. "People have made a million dollars off of that story," he says.

And so it is in Washington as well - a well-worn story line: Over-reaching bill gets introduced by the left, labor gets its bought-and-paid-for amen chorus in the Congress to sign on. Cooler heads begin to prevail, prospects for the bill dim. Then the unions scream "Compromise!" to get half of a lousy idea instead of the whole thing. Business is cowed into accepting it at the risk of -- gulp -- "looking unreasonable." Roll the credits.

The WaPo notes today that the weakening of support for the anti-democracy card check bill has of course led folks to talk about compromises.

In the story, two of labor's canards are repeated:

"The card-check bill would let workers form a union by getting a majority in a workplace to sign pro-union cards, instead of having to hold a secret-ballot election, as most employers insist on...." (Emphasis ours)

The law -- anybody remember the law? - requires an election when the union gets 30% of the cards and the NLRB makes the employer cough up the names and home addresses of the employees. If the union gets 50% o the cards signed (usually through coercion) the law allows the employer to either recognize the union or opt for an election.

Then there's this:

"The card-check bill would ... require[e] binding arbitration, similar to that used with public-sector unions, when employers and unions cannot agree on a first contract within 120 days." (Again, emphasis ours)

That's right, public sector unions often employ binding arbitration, but they are prohibited from striking. Binding arbitration is a way to bring an end to the dispute. The same rationale doesn't apply here, as these folks are free to withhold their labor if they want.

But as for the crux of the story, i.e., that Congress is scrambling for a compromise, maybe it's time to just accept a bad idea for what it is and walk away. Instead, labor's bidders in the Congress will push for what they can get and fault their opponents for their unwillingness to seek middle ground.

And so it goes.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 29, 2009 8:48 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Dog DNA: Who's Your Daddy?.

The next post in this blog is 'Automaker Aid Hinges on Restructuring'.

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