11/17/08

Organized labor bigs licking chops

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Thugs use the law to force disinterested workers to pay union dues

Probably no group celebrated the election of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama as president more than organized labor.

For decades, labor unions have watched membership rolls dwindle. In 1983, union members made up 20.1 percent of employed wage and salary workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Today, the union membership rate is down to about 12 percent.

In Alabama, union membership is even lower, about 9.5 percent. The coal and steel industry have strong union membership, but the state's automobile-manufacturing industry has stayed mostly union free.

Organized labor is licking its chops at the chance to organize workers at Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai, along with the thousands of men and women employed by the companies that supply the assembly plants.

Union bosses know they can't raise their numbers the old-fashioned way - pointing toward bad management and lousy working conditions. That's just not the case these days.

But organized labor doesn't give up. It's looking to gain an unfair advantage in the workplace if Congress and Obama go along. With stronger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and Obama in the White House, organized labor's No. 1 legislative priority may become law next year.

The misguided and misnamed Employee Free Choice Act would do away with the secret ballot to certify a union in the workplace. Instead, a union could be certified simply by a majority of workers signing cards favoring the effort.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"


Imagine a colleague coming up, sticking a card in your face and telling you to sign it. Colleagues gather around, to watch what you do. Voting a secret ballot gives a worker a chance to vote his conscience; being forced to make a decision about signing a card in front of friends and co-workers is another thing altogether.

A few disgruntled workers could drastically change not only the workplace, but the landscape across the state for attracting new industry and businesses.

While industry observers say the so-called "card-check" law wouldn't guarantee unions a sure path to success in the nonunion plants in Alabama - those workers are generally satisfied with their wages and working conditions - it would make organizing much easier and more likely.

Let's hope Obama abandons his support of the Employee (not-so-) Free Choice Act. With the current economic environment, this isn't the time to make our state's automobile-manufacturing industry more jittery.

- The Editors

(al.com)

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails