ACORN connects Obama to Big Labor

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Obama to unleash ACORN signature gathering ops on non-union U.S. workforce

Speaking of organizers coercing people to sign cards to subvert an election, there is another group of organizers attempting to do the same thing with American workers: unions.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was passed by House Democrats last year and blocked in the Senate. Union leaders are intent on a Democrat-run Senate and White House to make the bill law in 2009.

Currently, union organizers are required to submit signed cards to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) showing at least 30 percent of employees are interested in union representation. The NLRB then oversees a private ballot election, ensuring it is not fraudulent or unfair. Unions now want to skip private ballot elections all together and submit publicly signed cards to certify union representation.

Under the EFCA (often called the "Card Check Bill"), union organizers will be required to simply gather enough signatures (51 percent) to present to the NLRB to certify union representation. The EFCA does not provide for any oversight or regulation, or protect the rights of workers to privately decide for themselves without fear of repercussions.

Because employees would publicly sign the cards in front of union organizers, workers would be subjected to the intimidation practices for which union organizers are notorious. Workers questioning or unwilling to side with union organizers have been subjected to a wide range of harassment, including fear of losing their jobs, identity theft and having their families targeted.

Jen Jason, a former UNITE HERE union organizer, testified before the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on such practices. According to Jason, "In jurisdictions in which 'card check' was actually legislated, organizers tended to be even more willing to harass, lie and use fear tactics to intimidate workers into signing cards."

Even Democrat icon George McGovern is against the bill. In an interview, McGovern told The Hill: "I believe in the secret ballot as a very important part of our democracy. When we elect a president, sheriff or member of Congress, we walk into the voting booth and pull the curtain free of anyone trying to twist our arm."

McGovern has launched an ad campaign with the Employee Freedom Action Committee. "It's hard to believe that any politician would agree to a law denying millions of employees the right to a private vote. I have always been a champion of labor unions. But I fear that today's union leaders are turning their backs on democratic workplace elections," McGovern states in the ad.

According to the Center for Union Facts, "Seventy-five percent of Americans think secret ballots are the most democratic method of choosing a union." Yet Democrats in the Senate are likely to push for passage of EFCA, given their deep-pocketed support from Unions. According to USA Today, "The Democratic majority in Congress, which was elected with the help of $57.6 million in campaign contributions from unions, has pushed measures to increase wages on public projects, ease rules for unionizing workplaces and cut funding for corruption investigators."

An Associated Television News / Zogby poll of likely voters also shows that a clear majority (78 percent) of Americans support workers' rights to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to unionize. According to the poll, only 15 percent side with the union bosses who want to do away with secret ballots.

For his part, Barack Obama owes a debt to organized labor for helping him defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Obama has made it clear that he will repay this debt in he becomes President. One way for him to do so is to sign the EFCA and do away with secret ballots.

After the House passage of EFCA in 2007, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) wrote in The Washington Times: "Not even two months into the new Congress, the bipartisan façade of the highly orchestrated first 100 hours is a distant memory. The real agenda of the new Democrat majority is coming to light and many special interests that helped rally support for Democrat candidates during the election cycle are lining up to cash in. At the front of the line: Big Labor."

Price cited colleague George Miller's (D-CA) letter to a Mexican labor arbitration board, in which Miller wrote: "We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may not otherwise choose." Miller co-sponsored EFCA.

Union membership has steadily declined. Today only 7.5 percent of private-sector workers belong to unions. Because an increasing number of workers no longer elect to join a union, union organizers must now rely on strong arm tactics and a Democrat Congress to increase membership and dues. The only way unions can win an election is not to have one.

- Brad O'Leary is author of The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama's War on American Values.


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