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Labor Union Ads

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Today, I began seeing these two commercials regarding the evil ways of labor unions. One features four very chipper "common" people "thanking" labor unions for various terrible things. The other talks about unfair election practices by comparing union elections to a school/class election. If you would like to see the commercials, they are on the website for the Center for Union Facts. http://unionfacts.com/

 

I'm trying to figure out why now? They seem to be targeting internal union election practices, but why?

 

Unions have been around since the turn of the previous century. They have been denounced as evil since I can remember. I grew up in a very pro-union family (my dad even was a negotiator for several teacher contracts), while my husband grew up in an anti-union house. I get that there is animosity and two different sides.

 

But why spend all this money now? The commercials do not imply this is an election issue, nor does the website. Is there some lawsuit pending? Are these commercials playing in other parts of the country?

Edited by tpeters
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Just guessing, but here are some theories:

 

Maybe some big company is suing (or being sued) by a union and is trying to paint the jury pool.

 

Maybe the RNC is painting unions as evil and corrupt so they can pivot to it if they end up spending big money on Obama.

 

Maybe there is, or is about to be, state legislation on "Right to Work."

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I may have sort of answered part of my questions. On the November ballot in Colorado, we will have Amendment 47, the so-called "Right to Work" initiative. If passed, the law would outlaw required union membership at any place of work; likewise for any required union dues. It would essentially eliminate "closed shops."

 

Is this happening anywhere else in the country?

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I may have sort of answered part of my questions. On the November ballot in Colorado, we will have Amendment 47, the so-called "Right to Work" initiative. If passed, the law would outlaw required union membership at any place of work; likewise for any required union dues. It would essentially eliminate "closed shops."

 

Is this happening anywhere else in the country?

I don't know if there is pending legislation/referenda in other states at the moment, but it's a hot issue in a lot of places.

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Right to Work states:

Alabama

Arizona - (established by state's Constitution, not by statute)

Arkansas - (established by state's Constitution, not by statute)

Florida - (established by state's Constitution, not by statute)

Georgia

Idaho

Iowa

Kansas

Louisiana

Mississippi

Nebraska

Nevada

North Carolina

North Dakota

Oklahoma - (established by state's Constitution, not by statute)

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Wyoming

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But a lot of RTW depends on what industry you are in. For instance, airline pilots represnted by the Air Line Pilots Association (the nation's largest union for pilots in commercial aviation) are required to pay either union dues (if they are a member) or service charges equivalent to the dues rate (if not a member) regardless of where they live. (This includes, at last count, the pilots at United, Delta, Northwest, Fed Ex, and several other carriers, it used to include US Air, but they decertified ALPA as their bargaining rep.) Members of ALPA must pay dues, non-members must pay a service charge which is equivalent to the dues rate (in 2006 that was 1.95% of total pay.) Non-Members could, by law, ask for a reduction in the service fee to remove all expenses not germaine to collective barganining (a fancy way of saying we don't want our dues money used for political purposes.) However, all of this had to be paid on pain of job loss if a pilot fell deliquent...and when it went to Court the "I live in a RTW state" never held any water - they were given the choice to pay or be terminated. So RTW doesn't quite extend as far as the name would suggest. I don't know if this is a specific carve-out due to the importance of the airline industry, but it very much the case in that industry.

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But why spend all this money now? The commercials do not imply this is an election issue, nor does the website. Is there some lawsuit pending? Are these commercials playing in other parts of the country?

 

In order to determine whether or not a place of business will be unionized, the status quo is to hold secret ballot elections. Unions, however, are pushing for "card check" elections. These elections require employees to cast their vote in front of their peers and union officials, who may coerce or taunt individuals for voting to remain non-unionized.

As I'm sure you're aware, unions are strong supporters of Democrats. With the upcoming November election, it is very plausible that we will have a Democratic House, Senate, and White House (the "trifecta"). If this happens, "card check" elections will be passed; they have been voted on many times by Congress, but are continually vetoed by the Republican White House.

I just got home today from some meetings in Washington with about ten Congressmen. They unanimously, independently said that if the Democrats win the trifecta, the first thing they will do is to pass legislation allowing "card check" elections. It is expected that this would happen as soon as January '09.

 

http://www.abc.org/Government_Affairs/Issues/ABC_Priority_Issues/Right_to_Secret_Ballot_Elections.aspx check that out for more info, if you're interested

 

Hope that helps.

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Thanks, Karlyn.

 

Now I'm really perplexed. WHY would the Democrats want to see the "card check" elections? Considering the current atmosphere of Democrats fighting like hell to ensure personal rights (aka Gitmo, Patriot Act, etc.), I can't see why they would want to take away this right.

 

Perhaps some die-hard Democrat out there (I know you're there) can explain the other side of this issue.

 

The whole right to work issue is a bit puzzling to me. Democrats are against legislation that would prevent closed shops on the basis that it would weaken the entire labor union structure. But forcing someone to join a union (or the equivalent) seems contradictory to various elements of civil rights work.

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Think about that question - of course Dems would want Cardchecks...they live off of Big Labor...putting people in a situation where they would be goaded into voting for Labor, thus making Big Labor even Bigger (although Labor is actually more like shrinking labor today) is good for the Dems.........

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Duane, it can't be that simple. I don't think most of the conservative conspiracies are real, and I certainly don't think that support of certain elections protocols is part of a democratic power play. Even if that is the ultimate ulterior motive, perhaps someone can tell me the more "surface" level rationale provided by liberals.

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Now I'm really perplexed. WHY would the Democrats want to see the "card check" elections? Considering the current atmosphere of Democrats fighting like hell to ensure personal rights (aka Gitmo, Patriot Act, etc.), I can't see why they would want to take away this right.

 

Think about that question - of course Dems would want Cardchecks...they live off of Big Labor...putting people in a situation where they would be goaded into voting for Labor, thus making Big Labor even Bigger (although Labor is actually more like shrinking labor today) is good for the Dems.........

 

That's exactly the right answer. Card check makes unions happy, happy unions pay democrats, thus card check makes democrats happy.

 

Democrats are against legislation that would prevent closed shops on the basis that it would weaken the entire labor union structure.

 

Very true that they oppose legislation prevent closed shops (or, re-stated, they are against open shops). Many Democrats, including Obama, support Union-Only Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). PLAs make agrements with unions stating that certain (construction) jobs for the government will be carried out by solely union workers in exchange for a union agreement to forfeit their right to strike. This excludes 86% of construction companies from competing to get these jobs. So instead of working to defend individual rights, as you said, this excludes the fundamental principle of equal access/opportunity.

 

So, perhaps they are true in saying that open shop would weaken the labor union structure, BUT it hardly seems right to deny equal access/opportunity to the majority of (construction) companies in order to prevent this from happening. An open shop does make labor unions weaker... and in doing so, it makes everyone EQUAL - at least, in their ability to compete for jobs based on merit. And isn't that largely what democracy is about?

 

Go to this website for more on this

http://www.abc.org/Government_Affairs/Issues/ABC_Priority_Issues/Project_Labor_Agreements.aspx

 

Note:

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not anti-union. I support an "open shop" or "merit shop" system where everyone, union or not, has equal opportunity and equal rights.

 

PM me if anyone wants to talk about this.

Edited by karlyn
fixed grammar
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Karlyn, thanks for the info and the website.

 

To be fair and even, I wanted to find what the other side has to say. I found this on the Democratic Caucus's Senate Blog regarding the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) (don't you just love the use of language - very Orwellian!). Here's what they say at http://democrats.senate.gov/journal/entry.cfm?id=277768&

 

Despite the need for reform, critics of EFCA continue to misinform the public about the bill and hide the serious shortcomings of current labor law. Democrats are committed to setting the record straight and passing this important legislation on behalf of American workers and their families.

 

MYTH: EFCA will prevent the use of secret-ballot elections.

 

REALITY: EFCA does not strip workers of their right to choose a secret-ballot election to decide whether to select -- or not to select -- a union representative. EFCA simply gives workers the additional option of selecting a union representative by majority sign-up.

 

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), there are three ways for workers to form a union:

 

1) By secret-ballot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will conduct a secret-ballot election to select a bargaining representative if at least 30 percent of workers have signed a petition or authorization cards in favor of a union. If a majority of workers voting select a particular union, the NLRB will certify that union as the employees’ bargaining representative. EFCA does not change this process.

 

2) By voluntary card-check recognition: An employer can voluntarily decide to recognize a union representative if a majority of employees have signed authorization cards in favor of the union. EFCA does not change this process.

 

3) By NLRB-ordered recognition: As a last resort, the NLRB can order an employer who has engaged in unfair labor practices that make a fair election unlikely to recognize a labor union if a majority of employees have signed authorization cards in favor of the union. EFCA does not change this process.

 

EFCA would simply add a fourth choice for workers seeking to form a union. The legislation would require the NLRB to certify a union representative if a majority -- more than half -- of workers sign authorization cards in favor of the union.

 

The majority sign-up, or “card-check,” option would simply streamline the union selection process for workplaces that have a majority of workers who want to join a union. This is the same majority that would be voting in a secret-ballot election. Moreover, the majority sign-up process already exists, but only if the employer chooses to recognize it. EFCA would extend the right to select a union representative via the majority-sign up process to workers themselves.

 

MYTH: Secret-ballot elections are the fairest way to select a union representative.

 

REALITY: Secret-ballot elections in the union context can leave employees vulnerable to virtually un-checked employer intimidation and coercion.

 

Under current law, once workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold a secret-ballot election, there is no set timetable for holding that election. Employers who are determined to prevent the formation of a union often use this period to threaten, discriminate against, de-mote, dock the pay of, and even fire pro-union employees. Studies have shown that one-quarter of private-sector union organization drives result in employee firings, and one out of every five workers who openly advocate for a union is fired. Unfortunately, current law includes weak remedies that fail to deter employers from engaging in these practices. At best, the NLRA will order the employer to stop its wrong-doing and reinstate an improperly fired employee and force the employer to pay back-pay, that is, unless the employee has found a job in the interim.

 

EFCA would toughen the penalties against employers who engage in these unfair labor practices. In addition to ordering an employer to stop the practices, the legislation would require employers to pay employees who are fired as a result of union organizing activity, during an organizing campaign or first contract drive, treble damages (i.e. back-pay, plus liquidated damages two times that amount.). The bill would also impose civil fines of up to $20,000 per violation against employers who willfully or repeatedly violate workers’ rights in forming a union.

 

MYTH: Secret-ballot elections are the most democratic way to choose a union.

 

REALITY: Though EFCA gives workers the choice to select a secret-ballot election or the majority sign-up process, these secret-ballot elections are nothing like our federal, state, or local candidate elections. The NLRB’s election process, for example, stifles free speech and democratic debate by restricting the ability of unions and pro-union workers to communicate with employees, while allowing employers free access to workers every day.

 

Unlike other elections, where candidates are allowed equal access to voters during the campaign, current labor laws allow employers to bar unions from the workplace and refuse access to employee contact information until just days before the election. While strict limits apply to when and where pro-union employees can campaign to form a union, employers can require workers to attend anti-union meetings during work hours, one-on-one or in a group. Employers may also direct supervisors, who control pay and promotion, to deliver anti-union messages to workers and attach anti-union literature to paychecks. A recent survey found that employees who have gone through the NLRB election process are twice as likely to report employer coercion as those who participated in a majority sign-up process.

 

EFCA would give workers the option to choose a different, simpler, and fairer method of union selection -- majority sign-up, which reflects a key tenet of Democracy -- majority rule.

 

This information seems to go right to the heart of one of the commercials being played around here -- about how elections will look like something out of a mob movie. Karlyn dealt with this issue above. There are other pieces of information on this cite, if you would like to read the rest.

 

In terms of the timing of these commercials, the EFCA was killed in the Senate a year ago (June 2007) through a Cloture Motion. Are Democratic candidates talking about resurrecting it if they win the Senate? It was killed with a vote of 51-48-1.

 

Any response?

Edited by tpeters

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Tammie, I worked for a labor union for 6 and half years in its membership department, I got to hear both sides of the Labor story daily - the people who loved the Union and it's way of doing things, and the people who hated the Union, but still had to pay service fees to it so when it comes to Unions, I have some knowledge. The goal of labor is to expand, if they can pressure people into voting for them, they see that as good (I could tell you some stories about how Unions treat workers who dissent from the party line) - now, my point about the Democrats might seem a bit pointed - but think about it, labor doesn't vote Republican, normally, they opt Democrat - the GOP has NOTHING to gain from big gains in union membership, the Democrat party has everything to gain....

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Thanks, Duane. I understand the ulterior political motive for supporting labor. Both parties have their ulterior motives tied up in getting elected. However, I want to also be able to evaluate the logic and rationale behind various actions. It can't be just "Vote Democrat - we let the unions get their way" or "Vote Republican - we will shut down those stinking unions."

 

As for the membership part, I proudly belong to my local teachers union, the Jefferson County Education Association. It is part of CEA and NEA. For two years, I was the building rep, mostly because I wanted to make sure teachers got a fair shake when it came to disputes with the principal. I sat in on teacher/administration meetings several times that centered around teacher discipline issues (some just, some unjust). However, when I attended the monthly county-wide meetings, almost everything was geared toward increasing membership. I was really disheartened that my valuable time as a teacher would be taken up by a sales pitch to make other sales pitches at my school.

 

On the up side, I think our local association got enough complaints from teacher-representatives that they scaled back on that part of the meetings. At least that's what I understand from our current rep.

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I wasn't trying to imply that you didn't know about unions, I hope you didn't take it that way!!:( I was trying to point out that I've seen both sides to the coin - and know that Unions, more often than not, are out to support Democrat politics.

 

I should probably add that I loathe big labor - I worked for them because they paid well and had good benefits, but I'd gladly watch organized labor fold tomorrow if I could. To me, unions cause more problems than they are worth in the modern age..but that's simply my opinion. I watched first hand while the steel unions killed my hometown by demanding ever higher wages and benefits, pricing American steel right out of the market. I've watched teacher unions save teacher's careers when some of the people saved have no business near a classroom...etc....I'm not a fan. While unions did a lot of good in the day, like all good things - people took them too far, and bent them too badly..they've become nothing but a cash machine for political interests. I'll tell you how bad it is..once upon a time I was president of ALPA's employee's union (the people who work for ALPA)..I ended up in a meeting trying to save the job of a guy who was chronically late....I did..but I shouldn't have to have been put in that position......

Edited by hylanddd
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I wasn't trying to imply that you didn't know about unions, I hope you didn't take it that way!!:( I was trying to point out that I've seen both sides to the coin - and know that Unions, more often than not, are out to support Democrat politics.

 

Name one Republican in the past 20 years that has received national recognition during his time in office that was pro unions.

 

I was out doorknocking for the DFL (MN's Democratic Party and Farmer-Labor Party merged at one point to form the DFL) today, and one of the volunteers helping was a GLBT activist. She said she was asked a bunch of times how she can be working for the DFL despite the organization she works for being non-partisan? Her answer: Name me one republican politician who is pro-GLBT rights. Not one person could.

 

That' why labor unions support the Democrats. They're the only ones by in large who are pro unions. It's not that they are just crazy dems out to destroy america , but rather, they want people in Washington that will support them, which is what the Dems do

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Labor unions are factions run amok.

 

I'm all for workers banding together to curb unfair business practices, promote fair work environments, etc.

 

But labor unions today have become political entities. They've extorted trillions from unwilling members, businesses, etc., and wield their clout like weapons.

 

The political contributions/agendas of unions are obvious -- and go beyond representing their members. Many unions ignore the interests of their members by taking on political causes, self-preservation, and leftist ideology on their members unwilling/uninformed dime.

 

We need to re-examine our nation's stance on unions. Everyone has the right to assemble, to collectively bargain, etc. But those who fail to recognize: the right to opt out of a union, the right (and duty) of government entities to be thrifty with taxpayer dollars (which goes out the window with Davis-Bacon and other requirements whereby government entities -- including school boards -- must pay UNION-NEGOTIATED wages on all publicly-funded projects, instead of getting the job done efficiently), the right of a business to say "sorry, not interested in your employees...here's what we're paying," etc., should take a second look.

 

Cozying up to unionization as an "entitlement" -- and unions as entities to be bowed down to -- is blatantly unamerican.

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Poneill..I know WHY Labor and teh Dems are in bed together....I'm not contesting that - I understand it perfectly - Labor thinks it's entitled, and the Dems are all about entitlement......got that!!:)

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Labor unions are factions run amok.

 

I'm all for workers banding together to curb unfair business practices, promote fair work environments, etc.

 

But labor unions today have become political entities. They've extorted trillions from unwilling members, businesses, etc., and wield their clout like weapons.

 

The political contributions/agendas of unions are obvious -- and go beyond representing their members. Many unions ignore the interests of their members by taking on political causes, self-preservation, and leftist ideology on their members unwilling/uninformed dime.

 

We need to re-examine our nation's stance on unions. Everyone has the right to assemble, to collectively bargain, etc. But those who fail to recognize: the right to opt out of a union, the right (and duty) of government entities to be thrifty with taxpayer dollars (which goes out the window with Davis-Bacon and other requirements whereby government entities -- including school boards -- must pay UNION-NEGOTIATED wages on all publicly-funded projects, instead of getting the job done efficiently), the right of a business to say "sorry, not interested in your employees...here's what we're paying," etc., should take a second look.

 

Cozying up to unionization as an "entitlement" -- and unions as entities to be bowed down to -- is blatantly unamerican.

 

Exactly

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Think about that question - of course Dems would want Cardchecks...they live off of Big Labor...putting people in a situation where they would be goaded into voting for Labor, thus making Big Labor even Bigger (although Labor is actually more like shrinking labor today) is good for the Dems.........

 

yeah duh! the power of labor unions is so > than corporations. See the socizlists have all th powerz!!

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retired..go back, eat your jello, and watch your TV like a good little boy. Maybe Nurse Rachet will let you play with some blocks later on...H.

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retired..go back, eat your jello, and watch your TV like a good little boy. Maybe Nurse Rachet will let you play with some blocks later on...H.

 

i dont watch tv... but maybe thats why i dont have a blind hatred for collective bargaining.

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Retired...I worked for a labor union, and was president of an a clerical workers union associated with the AFL/CIO....I developed my hatred of collective bargaining through first hand experience...not by idle speculation....now...go back and play with your coloring books.....

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