Politics interfere with worker-choice

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Union bigs lean on Congress to enforce forced-labor unionism agenda

Big Labor is making a billion dollar bet on this fall's election. If they elect Barack Obama and a filibuster-proof Senate, they could run the table next year. Obama is an enthusiastic supporter of Big Labor's legislative agenda of more compulsory unionism. At the top of that agenda is the Orwellian-named "Employee Free Choice Act" which would block employees from secret ballot elections over unionization. Passage of EFCA, more accurately called the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill, is central to Big Labor's plans to obtain new coercive union organizing privileges.

The bill's provisions attack freedom and choice for both employees and employers. In Big Labor's world view, the only proper relationship between workers and employers is an adversarial one. Under mandatory "card check," employees may never even hear their employer's opinion on the downsides of unionization and what it could mean for their company. Employees could leave work at the end of one day, only to find the next morning that they are in a union. And just how will this happen? Union organizers pressure workers one by one to sign union authorization cards. When a majority of workers sign, the employer would be required by law to bargain with the union as the "exclusive representative" of all workers.

Because "exclusive representation" is such an extraordinary privilege, current law allows employers to insist that workers make their decision on unionization through a secret ballot election supervised by the NLRB. The Card Check Forced Unionism Bill does away with the secret ballot except under the most far-fetched of circumstances.

But there's more. In the Senate, Obama introduced the so-called Patriot Employer Act, which offers tax advantages to those companies agreeing to so-called "neutrality" and use of card check (which is not yet mandated). Under such agreements, employees lose both access to truthful information about the downsides of unionization and the privacy of the secret ballot. Employers that refuse to throw their workers under the bus will not be deemed "patriots" and will therefore face higher taxes than their competitors.

Meanwhile, Obama and union lobbyists have another bill in mind -- one which will force unionization on hundreds of thousands of public safety workers across America.

Under current law and the principle of federalism, states are free to determine for themselves the best way for state and local governments to negotiate contracts with government employees. Almost half of all states either do not permit union monopoly bargaining over police, firefighters, and EMTs or grant more limited forms of "exclusive representation." Already a cosponsor of this bill, Obama promises he will push for and sign the Police and Fire Monopoly Bargaining Act, forcing states and cities to bargain with union bosses as the monopoly bargaining agent of public safety personnel.

With the potential for the most radical shift in labor law in decades, it should come as no surprise that Big Labor is spending record funds -- estimated at over $1 billion in mostly compulsory dues -- on the 2008 elections.

When it comes fighting for forced unionism power grabs which corral more hardworking Americans into unions, Obama is Big Labor's great hope. So much for the little guy.

- Doug Stafford is vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.


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