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On NPR: Card Check and Obfuscation

For you true suckers for punishment out there, here's a one hour show that aired on NPR today on the topic of card check. It features on the union side both Steve Greenhouse of the New York Times (who's ostensibly neutral but everybody knows better, including the listeners) and Bill Samuel of the AFL-CIO. Business is more than ably represented by Steven Law of the US Chamber, who spent 8 years at the Department of Labor in a number of very senior slots and actually knows what he's talking about. Tom Ashbrook, the moderator, sounds pretty fair-minded and presses both sides equally.

Union supporter Greenhouse in describing the current state of play says, "Right now, companies and managers can insist on a prolonged campaign and a secret ballot election." He adds, ”Union organizers are not permitted to set foot on company property…. management totally dominates the conversation" and adds that the company makes threats to move the company if they are unionized. Ashbrook asks him if that maybe isn't a threat but might actually be true. Greenhouse is forced to concede the point. Samuel, a great advocate, piles on, alleging that union organizers are routinely fired.

In fact, companies cannot "insist on a prolonged campaign" at all. Under the law (anybody remember the law?) if the union gets 30% of the employees to sign cards, they go to the NLRB and file for an election. If they get 50%+1, they can ask the employer to recognize, which the employer can do, or can opt for an election, knowing full well that in every case some number of cards were coerced.

As for not setting foot on company property, Greenhouse is right as far as non-employees are concerned. Union supporters among the employees are free to speak their minds. However -- a fact completely lost in this entire debate -- once the union gets 30% of the employees to sign cards and the NLRB authorizes an election, the company is required to give the union a list (called an "Excelsior" list for the case that announced the principle) of all employees in the unit and their home addresses -- whether or not they signed cards. That's a salient fact, no?

As for the unions' continued empty allegations of mass firings of union organizers, there happens to be a Federal agency -- that same NLRB -- that exists for the purpose of sorting out such things. If the unions are right that the organizers were fired for being organizers -- and not for any other reason -- then that's against the law and the NLRB will require them to be re-hired with back pay. Not an employer in the country finds the NLRB to be an employer-friendly agency.

What's annoying about all of this is that the unions know the process better than anyone. Yet they continue to obfuscate and to use the public's -- and Congress' -- general ignorance about the issue to their advantage.

Best thing we can all do is get the facts out. Pass it on.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 12, 2009 5:00 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Big Shockeroo: EFCA Sponsors Get Lots of Union $$.

The next post in this blog is Card Check Raises Issues of Democracy.

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