3/26/08

No-vote unionization would cost jobs

Hawaii State Rep. Sylvia Luke should be ashamed for sponsoring HB 2974. All Representatives and Senators who vote for this bill on the floor or in Committee should be ashamed for pushing minorities into the drivers seat for Hawaii job creation and retention. Make no mistake; HB2974 will cost Hawaii jobs.

Please read last year's Wall Street Journal editorial reprinted below and note how the personal liberty of workers and employers will evaporate if lawmakers succeed in getting HB 2974 to apply to Hawaii.

Since when does the minority rule?

Since when does the majority have to pay union dues just because the minority decides to sign a union membership card while attending some union party or beer bust?

Since when should consumers of Hawaii be stuck with higher prices due to higher costs because legislators keep employers from relying on market forces to set wages?

Legislators already set a minimum wage why now set union membership as a "state requirement" too?

Since when do elected representatives think it is wise to give monopoly power to one small group i.e. unions

Since when do elected representatives think that they create jobs? Bills like HB2974 will kill and export jobs!

Please vote no on this bill and insure that Hawaii keeps jobs and stays competitive in the world market place.

WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL

Walter Reuther's Ghost: Democrats vote to bar secret union ballots

Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:01 a.m.

The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote as early as today on a bill that strips 140 million U.S. workers of the right to decide in private whether to unionize. Naturally, it's called the Employee Free Choice Act.

Big Labor has been agitating to ease union-formation requirements for more than a decade. And prior to last year's election, the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and their allies made it clear to Democrats that this vote would be the most important return they expected on their investment in a Nancy Pelosi Speakership. This is payback day.

The union claim is that employers are engaging in rampant unfair labor practices to prevent employees from exercising their right to organize. But data from the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections, show no rise in such activities. The reality is that union membership has been in decline for decades, and labor leaders are desperate to rig the rules in order to reverse the trend. In the 1950s, 35% of private-sector workers were unionized. By the early 1980s the number had fallen to 20%, and today it stands at just 7.4%.

The reason for this decline isn't illegal management meddling in organizing efforts. The problem is that unions haven't been able to persuade the workers themselves. Our own, longstanding position is that when a company is organized it is almost always the company's fault. But workers of all classes and skills can also read the news and understand that unions no longer provide job security, if they ever did. The most heavily unionized industries--such as airlines and Detroit carmakers--are typically those that are financially beleaguered and shedding jobs. Workers know that unions often provide short-term wage gains at the cost of longer-term job insecurity.

All of which explains the drive to rewrite the rules and do away with secret-ballot elections administered by the NLRB, a procedure in place since the 1935 Wagner Act. Under current rules, once 30% of employees at a workplace express interest in unionizing by signing an authorization card, organizers can go to management and demand voluntary "card-check" recognition. The employer then has the option of recognizing the union or demanding an election.

It shouldn't be surprising that many workers who sign these cards later have second thoughts after getting the employer's side of the story. Workers sign cards for all kinds of reasons, including peer pressure and intimidation. It's not uncommon for an organizer to approach an employer with cards that show 90% of the workforce wants to unionize, only to have the percentage plummet once employees hear about the downside of a union shop and have a chance to vote by secret ballot. So Big Labor wants to dispense with these petty elections and make union recognition mandatory as soon as a simple majority of workers sign a card.

Notably, nearly every American business group is united in opposing this affront to worker freedom. They understand this will make organizing that much easier, thus making their own businesses that much less competitive. One business response would surely be to hire fewer workers--the opposite of what the unions claim to want.

The bill nonetheless has 234 co-sponsors, including seven Republicans, mostly from blue Northeast states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Because the Senate is expected to filibuster the bill and the White House is threatening a veto, these Republicans may figure they can have it both ways: Score points with the unions by supporting a measure that isn't going anywhere. But Members who go on record opposing secret-ballot elections will also have some explaining to do the next time they ask for business support.

So far this Congress, Democrats have been trying to present themselves as "moderates" who won't return to their bad special-interest selves pre-1994. But this union-enabling bill strips away that mask and exposes an anti-business animus out of the 1970s, if not the 1930s. Even if it fails this Congress, this week's vote is a warning about what could become law if Democrats and their union backers hold all the levers of power after 2008.

(hawaiireporter.com)

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