Fed bailout of organized labor explained

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

Card-check: A fascistic mistake for union bigs

I am a lifelong union man: an organizer, negotiator, staffer and leader. I believe in unions and their importance for our society. That’s why I think HR 800, the Orwellian-titled “Employee Free Choice Act” is an abomination. And more than that, it is not good for unions.

Unions function effectively when they can build a mandate of support from their members. EFCA would make it possible to organize unions without such a mandate, and thereby destroy the basic legitimacy of a union’s claim to represent a majority. HR800 has passed the House and is waiting in the Senate for a filibuster-proof Democratic majority to pass it and President Obama to sign it.

EFCA contains four changes to long-standing labor law. The one receiving most attention would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify unions without elections, solely on the basis of a “card check”.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

The second would require interest arbitration, having an arbitrator set the terms and conditions of employment, for first contracts that are not bargained within four months. Such arbitration tends to distort and atrophy real negotiations, and result in an “arbitrator’s award” rather than a mutually-agreed-on contract. The essence of all labor law on enforcement of agreements flows from contract law; without a contract, enforcement becomes arbitrary indeed. It’s like having judges create the law.

The other changes would expedite investigation into unfair labor charges made during a certification process, and increase penalties for employer violations. These are good changes, exactly what is needed to make election campaigns more fair; they ought to be passed.

But eliminating elections amounts to de-legitimizing unions even where they exist. It may look like a kind of affirmative action, but in fact it is far worse.

Under current law, unions can only be certified by majority vote in a secret-ballot election (unless the employer agrees to a card check). Existing unions can also be de-certified through the same process. EFCA would upset this balance, making it easier to bring a union into a workplace than it would be to throw one out.

Currently, union de-certifications are rare (though unhappy union members talking about it are more common). When a group of workers get cards signed to de-certify their union, they then have to go through an election campaign, and the union has a chance to defend itself. This is only fair, and it promotes stability.

If unions could be de-certified by card-check alone, labor officials would be in for some rude surprises, as anti-union organizers might be able to run stealth campaigns and get cards signed (through fair or dubious methods), and Bingo! You’re out!

That is of course why the union-drafted EFCA has no provision for de-certification by card check. But how likely is it that labor would be able to hold off a push, sooner or later, to re-even the scales by including it?

And even if the Democratic sweep is big enough today to get EFCA passed as it stands, the loss in legitimacy for unions will be devastating. Most Americans think of labor unions as legitimate voices for workers, even though few belong to unions. That level of legitimacy will be lost if the House of Labor becomes a kind of Roach Motel where workers can check in but they can’t check out.

The underlying problem is that unions have shrunk almost to the point of no return in the private sector. Union leaders admit that they pursue EFCA because they cannot organize under the present regime of effective employer campaigns and interminable legal delays. It is an act of desperation.

There is another path labor could take. It could ask itself why so many workers find unions so unattractive, and it could make changes to become more attractive. But they are unwilling to face the central fact of their difficulties: workers have come to see unions as political organizations for which Democratic Party victory is more important than workplace gains.

In the 1930’s when the AFL proved unable to organize industrial workers, far-sighted union leaders built a new type of union for the purpose: the CIO. We could use some similarly far-sighted leaders today. EFCA will just delay the day.

Labor’s best hope is that it be denied the kind of protection it seeks. The law should be changed to make elections fairer, not to eliminate them.

- Hans Moleman is a National Education Association employee and lifelong Democrat who prefers to remain anonymous. He has no relation to the Simpsons character by the same name. Any similarities are purely coincidental.


Hoffa declares card-check Class War

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

Battle over labor union fascism will define Prez Bam regime

The head of the powerful Teamsters Union has given today's US election a class-war context by predicting a surge in trade union membership if Barack Obama becomes president and accusing employers of intimidating workers.

Teamsters president James Hoffa said Senator Obama's promise to sign the controversial Employee Free Choice Act would "set off a whole new wave of (union) organising" and swell the ranks of organised labour by hundreds of thousands of new members.

This would give US workers the "fair shake in America" they had been denied under the Bush administration, he said. Known as "card check", the proposed legislation would do away with secret ballot elections to decide if workplaces were to become unionised.

Secret ballot elections have existed in US industrial law for more than 50 years.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

Under card check, workers would be asked to sign a card in support of a union. Once 50 per cent of workers at a workplace had signed up, the union would be designated the official workplace bargaining agent.

"We're going to have card check -- you sign, you can join a union -- and that's going to stimulate new organisations, new unions and that's going to double the middle class," Mr Hoffa told CNBC yesterday from the battleground state of Indiana, where he was campaigning with Senator Obama.

"We're going to get good wages, we're going to get healthcare and we're going to get pensions. That is something that everybody is entitled to who is an American."

Card check passed the US House of Representatives last year but could not beat a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

Senator Obama has promised to sign the bill if elected president; John McCain will not.

Critics of card check say it exposes workers to union intimidation tactics that are eliminated under the current secret ballot provisions.

But Mr Hoffa, son of slain 1960s Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, said the issue was about preventing employer intimidation. "What's happening on the job is that when you start trying to organise there is a fear," Mr Hoffa said.

"The employer says: 'I'm going to close this business unless you get rid of the union.'

"So you have people so afraid of losing their job that they're afraid of joining a union.

"We're going to take the fear out of it, and this is going to be the law of the land when Barack Obama wins."

Mr Hoffa scoffed at big business concern about intimidation of workers.

"Chamber of Commerce, American manufacturers and John McCain, the candidate for the far Right, are actually worried about actual workers -- what a joke," he said.

Mr Hoffa said Senator Obama was "fighing for good American jobs" and would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to "make it fair".

Asked to explain the poor performance of heavily unionised US airlines and motor vehicle builders, Mr Hoffa put it down to poor management.

"Have a look at the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler). When they had money, what did they buy? They went and bought Jaguar.

"They did everything except invest in their companies to make the best car in America.

"So you have bad management, just like you have on Wall Street today, where we had this bail out."


Union-dues neutrality measure leads in Oregon

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Labor-state voters didn't like unions commingling funds for politics

A measure limiting the ability of public employee unions to spend on political campaigns was holding a slim lead in early voting. The vote was 50.1 percent to 49 percent with 38 percent of the vote counted.

Measure 64 is one of five political activist Bill Sizemore put on the ballot. It is his third effort to pass a law prohibiting public employee unions from using money they collect through payroll deductions for political purposes.

Sizemore argued that his measure is an effort to keep the government neutral on elections.

Opponents countered that the measure unfairly targets government employees, and could hurt payroll contributions to charities.


Fat-cat unions kill Bay State income tax repeal

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Forced-union dues fuel winning war against taxpayers

Massachusetts voters yesterday once again defeated an effort to repeal the state's income tax, following a big-spending campaign by unions and other opponents who warned that eliminating the tax would gut state government.

At the same time, voters approved a ballot question decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and another ballot question to ban dog racing.

In other statewide voting, US Senator John F. Kerry easily defeated Republican Jeff Beatty to win a fifth term.

In 2002, a question to repeal the income tax attracted little attention and no formal opposition but nearly passed. Stunned tax supporters took no chances this time, spending millions of dollars on an aggressive campaign to warn that repealing the income tax would damage the state, trigger drastic cuts to services, and prompt increases to other taxes and fees.

"We appealed to common sense," said Harris Gruman, campaign manager for Coalition for Our Communities, which led the opposition. "And if you have the time and money to do that, common sense prevails, especially in Massachusetts."

The coalition outspent the supporters of Question 1 by a 10-to-1 ratio through mid-October, a gap expected to widen on finance reports that will be filed after the election. That enabled the question's opponents to pay for a flurry of television ads and a sophisticated effort to identify likely and swing voters.

Carla Howell, the former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate who led the effort to repeal the tax, blamed the defeat on the fund-raising gap.

"The teachers unions spent 100 times more on advertising than we did. The message to voters: advertising works," said Howell, chairwoman of the Committee for Small Government, speaking to a crowd of about 20 supporters at Ken's Steak House in Framingham last night.

But there was more than a monetary gap at play. The Coalition for Our Communities drew on a network of door-to-door activists worried about cuts to schools, health centers, public safety, and other programs. In Dorchester and Mattapan alone, more than 100 volunteers from several nonprofits offered rides to the polls and handed out thousands of No-on-1 cards.

"We know how important Question 1 is to many services that are important to working families across the state," said Cortina Vann, a community organizer with the Dorchester-based Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.

On the other side, the Committee for Small Government, invested a chunk of its limited resources, which totaled $431,000 through mid-October, early in the campaign on the drive to get the question on the ballot.

After that, Question 1 advocates hoped that frustration with government waste as well as fatigue from strained family budgets would lead many of the state's 3.4 million workers to strike a blow against the 5.3 percent income tax.

"We're getting taxed to death in Massachusetts," said Bernie Friesecke, a North Reading voter who contributed $85 to the Committee for Small Government.

"You get these television ads that tell you we're going to lose this, that, and the other thing," said Friesecke, 78, a retired aeronautical engineer. "No one's ever telling you that we've got corruption and spending on stuff we don't need, in huge quantities."

The question called for cutting the income tax to 2.65 percent on or after Jan. 1 and for eliminating it entirely a year later. That would return an average of about $3,700 per worker but strip the state of roughly $12.5 billion a year, about 40 percent of funding for the current budget.

Opponents warned that the question would also harm the state's credit rating and destabilize its economy, in addition to forcing cuts to the myriad services. The coalition received heavy funding from public labor unions but also attracted allies in the state's leading business groups and from a wide range of government officials.

Howell's campaign won votes yesterday from those who believed the question would pass as well as from those who did not. Andrew Gray, a microbiology graduate student from Somerville, said he knew some supporters who just wanted to tweak government and send a message, thinking it would either lose or be immediately repealed by lawmakers if it passed.

Six years ago, 12 percent of people left the question blank. But the question carried 45 percent of votes cast in 2002 and won wide support in several communities, including Lynnfield. Some there supported it again, such as 47-year-old engineer George Bloom.

"I agree with virtually nothing the Legislature does. I think they're the biggest bunch of hacks in the world," said Bloom, citing what he considered mismanagement of funds, outsized public-employee pensions and inefficient road projects.

But others in Lynnfield echoed the message of the Coalition for Our Communities.

"I just think it's kind of reckless," said Christine Noonan, 55, who works as a planner for GE. "And I really don't want to see my property taxes go up."


Fascistic union bigs kill worker-choice in Colo.

More worker-choice stories: hereRelated: "The 28 labor-states"

Torrent of out-of-state union cash subdues voters, preserves forced-labor unionism

Colorado voters rejected Amendment 47, the controversial "right to work" ballot measure that sparked a $30 million-plus battle between organized labor and business.

The business-backed measure, which sought to prohibit mandatory union fees as a condition of employment, was behind 55 percent to 44 percent with 57 percent of the precincts reporting. The Amendment 47 campaign conceded defeat 2 1/2 hours after polls closed Tuesday evening but remained defiant, declaring that the battle was "worth fighting."

"The outcome, we feel, was unfortunate, but we are comforted in knowing that we took a principled stand and fought for it until the end," said Kelley Harp, a spokesman for the campaign.

Cheers erupted at a union-sponsored election party in downtown Denver when preliminary results were posted.

The labor celebration was tapered, however, because one of three union-opposed ballot measures appears to have passed.

Amendment 54, which would prohibit campaign contributions from unions that represent government workers, was ahead 51 percent to 48 percent with 55 percent of precincts reporting.

"If 54 passes, it would just start up another battle," said Mike Cerbo, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO.

Amendment 49, which would have prohibited automatic deductions of union dues from government workers' paychecks, was going down 60 percent to 39 percent with 56 precincts reporting.

Labor groups outspent business interests 4-to-1 in their
campaign against the three measures.

Foes flexed national muscle

Amendment 47 was at the heart of the battle. The measure was financed by Golden-based CoorsTek, the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors, among others. They spent about $6 million.

Labor's war chest exceeded $25 million, much of it coming from national union coffers. Labor also had an abundance of people involved as out-of-state union representatives were brought in to sway voters with signs, T-shirts and fliers.

Proponents argued that workers should have the freedom to decide whether to pay union dues. Opponents said the measure was aimed at weakening labor's resources and ability to negotiate on behalf of employees.

The effort to make Colorado the nation's 23rd right-to-work state divided the business community, with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce voicing opposition and the state chamber, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, supporting the measure.

Unusual business alliance

In the months leading to the election, a coalition of union, business and civic leaders said Amendment 47 would disrupt the delicate balance between labor and business that exists under the Colorado Labor Peace Act. The 65-year-old set of labor laws requires unions to hold a second election after organizing a workplace in order to mandate the payment of union fees as a condition of employment.

Labor groups filed four countermeasures in response to Amendment 47, with hopes that right-to-work backers would withdraw their initiative.

Though Amendment 47 wasn't removed, the strategy landed unions more support for their fight.

Concerns over the union-backed measures — one sought to mandate that certain businesses provide health care coverage — prompted some business leaders to strike an unprecedented deal with labor in which they joined forces to campaign against the three anti-union amendments. Businesses agreed to raise $3 million to help the fight, though they had secured just $2.5 million by Tuesday.

In return for the support, unions withdrew their countermeasures, which elected and business officials said would have crippled the state's economy by driving companies elsewhere.

"Love our chances" on 54

The joint fight bombarded airwaves and mailboxes with a message to "vote no on 47, 49 and 54."

Amendment 49 backers raised just $91,000 to promote the measure, while Amendment 54 proponents raised $1.8 million. The latter was highlighted for defeat by the business-union coalition in the final week leading up to the election, as polls showed Amendments 47 and 49 were headed for losses.

Amendment 54 would prohibit campaign contributions from any entity that wins no-bid government contracts totaling $100,000 or more. Unions attacked the measure because it classifies collective-bargaining agreements as no-bid contracts.

"We knew if the election were held 10 days ago, we would've won," said Tom Lucero, chairman of Amendment 54. "We've had to weather 10 days of direct attacks from all of our opponents, and we still love our chances."

At the union party at the Sheraton Denver Hotel, attendees booed loudly when results of the measure were posted Tuesday evening.

"All three of the measures are attacks on unions," said Ernie Duran III, director of organizing for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union. "I would be saddened to see one of these pass."


Socialist predicts Prez Bam card-check betrayal

More collectivism stories: here

Justice News: Barack Obama and the Unions

Workers Action - Shamus Cooke - A Barack Obama presidential victory will— in part— be due to the tremendous resources put forth by labor unions, both financially and by countless worker volunteer hours of phone calls and door knocking. Some unions are bigger Obama-backers than others— as SEIU’s website is a virtual Obama billboard. Since millions of dollars in workers’ dues money will go into getting him elected, it’s urgent to have an understanding of his labor policy, less we find ourselves forgotten and assaulted like we were under Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s Presidency is a necessary place to start when trying to understand Obama’s approach to the unions. Many workers were rightfully skeptical of Clinton the moment he announced his intentions to run for President — he was Governor of a ‘Right To Work’ state and was notorious for siding with management on major labor disputes. Many unions refused to support him until he successfully secured the Democratic nomination, where he was mystically transformed into the “lesser of two evils”.

But it’s hard to imagine a greater evil to labor than Bill Clinton. He pulled out all the stops to sell the evil, Corporate-written NAFTA to workers; helped create Plan Colombia (a militarized police/corporate state that consciously assassinates union leaders); completely reneged on any health-care reform; pushed through the criminal Welfare(counter)Reform bill; viciously attacked both Medicare and Medicaid by a combined amount of 140 billion dollars; increased the military budget by 17 billion dollars; led an imperialist war in Yugoslavia, not to mention various other military operations that paved the way for Bush’s ‘War on Terror’. Indeed, Bush has merely deepened the policies of Clinton, not created a host of new ones.

Bill Clinton was a hard-learned lesson for workers everywhere, creating mass skepticism in the Democratic Party as a whole. To overcome this, Obama had to offer the unions something spectacular… something extraordinary. Otherwise, the unholy, generational alliance between Democrats and the unions was in danger of disintegration. Obama’s solution made the unions starry-eyed: Card Check! (In Congress-speak known as the Employees Free Choice Act).

Card Check would be the biggest pro-union bill passed in Congress since the 1930’s. It would give any worksite the ability to be recognized as a union if more than 50% of the workforce signed a card stating their willingness to unionize. This would cut through the miles of red tape that presently engulfs union organizing. If actually done, this campaign promise of Obama’s will be a major advancement for workers. But will it get done? Not in this writers opinion.

The problem is that the reform is too pro-worker, and Obama knows it. The mere thought of Card Check has sparked horror in the minds of the ruling class. Furious tirades have been launched against the bill across media everywhere— its destructive results would “ruin the economy”! Not only that, but it’s also “undemocratic” and gives the unions “totalitarian” powers. Other critics of the bill claim that it would spark a labor “renaissance”, putting big-business on the defensive. And if actually passed, it might do just that.

A larger percentage of the population being unionized would indeed be bad for corporate profits, as workers would have better wages and benefits. This is precisely why Card Check will never be passed in Congress, at least not one that is controlled by one of the two corporate-owned parties; and especially not while the economy continues to spiral down a bottomless pit. The Democrat’s intimate ties with the corporations are a fact that will cause this bill to rot on the floor of Congress.

The ruling class has many ways it waters-down, draws-out, and eventually destroys campaign promises. The bureaucratic workings of congress are an idea place for such maneuvering. In the case of Card Check, the Democrats under the least amount of public pressure may vote against the bill, where the ‘left’ Democrats will then say they “gave it their all”. Eventually, the game will play itself out.

It’s possible that, in this case, the ruling class may resort to the ace up its sleeve, meaning, that Congress will pass the bill, only to have it stricken down by the Supreme Court. This tactic was hinted at in Forbes magazine, where we read: “with many winds in Washington blowing in Big Labor's favor, business groups are hoping the justices come out on their side once again”.

If this happens, The Democrats in congress will play-act the best they can, vowing to re-introduce the issue when the Supreme Court is once again on “their” side. But we will remember that the last two right-wing judges were confirmed without any challenge whatsoever by the Democrats: they’ve consciously created another excuse for accomplishing nothing. And while the bureaucrats in congress will be perfectly willing to wait for an ideal situation somewhere in the distant future to pass progressive legislation, the working-class cannot.

Obama’s future broken promises— assuming he becomes President— will create the conditions for the unions rank-and-file to finally break with the Democrats, refusing to pay dues money to politicians that inevitably side with the corporations. Workers do not need fair-weather ‘worker friendly’ politicians, but representatives that are workers themselves, or at least directly controlled by a political party with a working-class specific platform. Until this happens, workers can expect broken-promises, sell-outs, disappointments, and betrayals. Obama, we “hope”, will be the final obstacle to actual “change”.

- Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action, www.workerscompass.org


Hoffa destroys U.S. jobs

Expert explains new 'instant unionization'

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

The Employee Free Choice Act: The Unanswered Questions

The debate surrounding the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has focused on the act's most headline-inducing provision - the elimination of secret-ballot elections in determining union representation. The political and philosophical debate about the propriety of eliminating a process that allows employees to make a decision about unionization in a neutral and anonymous environment, free from coercion and intimidation, rightly has been at the forefront of the discussion. However, with Sen. Obama vowing that as president, he would sign the legislation into law, it is time to pay attention to EFCA's other provisions, which are equally groundbreaking and troublesome, as well as the practical issues raised by moving to a system of card-recognition. Indeed, there are many questions that are raised by EFCA that have yet to be considered, let alone answered, in the context of what would be a radically different environment for union organizing and labor-management relations in a post-EFCA world. This article will attempt to identify some of those questions, most of which only serve to highlight the problems endemic to EFCA.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

A Brief Overview Of EFCA

On March 1, 2007, the House of Representatives passed EFCA, 241 to 185. In June 2007, a majority of the Senate indicated support for EFCA. As a result of procedural maneuvers by senators opposing the legislation, however, EFCA never was sent to the full Senate for a vote. Given the likelihood that a new presidential administration would support EFCA, many observers believe that a version of the act will pass in 2009.

It is not an exaggeration to say that EFCA would dramatically alter the landscape of labor-management relations in the United States. First, EFCA requires that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certify a union as a bargaining representative based merely upon the fact that a majority of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit signed cards indicating their support for a union. Under the current process for certifying unions as bargaining representatives, the NLRB conducts a secret-ballot election for bargaining-unit employees after a union files a petition. Clearly, movement away from secret-ballot elections toward the use of union-recognition cards may expose employees to having to decide whether to support a union in the face of bullying or other coercive tactics by union supporters.

Second, EFCA establishes a 120-day period for the parties to reach an initial collective bargaining agreement. That period includes 90 days for bargaining between the parties, followed by a 30-day mediation period. If, after the 30 days, the parties have not reached an agreement, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service then refers the matter to an arbitration board to establish the terms for the initial collective bargaining agreement through binding interest arbitration. Currently, there is no such requirement of binding interest arbitration and the parties must reach agreement on an initial contract through collective bargaining. Thus, EFCA would require employers to live with contracts established by an arbitrator, who is unlikely to be familiar with their respective business or industry. Clearly, the interest arbitration process would result in deals for unions more favorable than what they would be able to achieve through collective bargaining.

Finally, EFCA carries stronger penalties for certain violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including back-pay damages and civil penalties for offenses such as unlawful discrimination and bad-faith bargaining.

In short, the passage of EFCA would significantly shift the balance of power in union-organizing campaigns and first-contract negotiations away from neutrality and in favor of unions.

Some Unanswered Questions

There has been scant discussion about EFCA's introduction of interest arbitration to private-sector employers and how EFCA's groundbreaking provisions would be integrated into the NLRB regulation of union-organizing campaigns. Consider the following questions left unanswered by EFCA:

1. How Closely Will The NLRB Regulate Cards And Card-Signing?

Given the use of union cards in the current NLRB representation process - to establish the requisite 30 percent support for filing a union representation petition - the NLRB has traditionally taken a hands-off approach with respect to their regulation. Employers are not allowed to inspect cards, and the NLRB does not generally allow employers to litigate at a representation hearing issues such as fraud, forgery, or coercion in the union's obtaining of cards. The NLRB also generally does not invalidate cards on the basis of timeliness so long as the cards were signed during the current organizing campaign.

A hands-off approach towards the timeliness and manner in which cards have been obtained makes sense in a system in which cards do not determine the final result. However, when the signing of cards is the whole ballgame - as it is with EFCA - the NLRB cannot continue to cast a blind eye toward card abuses. Moreover, how can a six-month-old card, or a month-old card for that matter, be viewed as a current expression of an employee's interest in union representation? Feelings change about unions, particularly when there is not a union organizer blocking an employee's car in his driveway and asking the employee to sign a card so that he can leave his house. Will the NLRB continue to keep its distance from card abuses and timing questions in an EFCA world?

2. What Is The "Laboratory Conditions" Period For Purposes Of A Card Campaign?

The NLRB generally requires that there be "laboratory conditions" during union representation campaigns. Such a requirement is important so that employees can express their true desires about unionization free of threats and coercion. To support the "laboratory conditions" necessary for a fair election, employers are generally prohibited from changing the terms and conditions of employment for bargaining-unit employees during a campaign. The NLRB is particularly stringent about violations of the "laboratory conditions" period with respect to abuses that take place immediately before or during the voting period.

This concept encounters problems with EFCA because there are potentially no starting or stopping points for union campaigns. Will an employer be expected to maintain the status quo indefinitely once a few cards have been signed? How will the NLRB establish notice of a card-signing campaign in the absence of a petition? Will the NLRB strictly apply the "laboratory conditions" standard to the behavior of union representatives obtaining cards? Will the current NLRB scheme of regulating campaign conduct be scrapped once we enter the realm of the never-ending union campaign? These questions simply must be dealt with if there is any hope of a fair and rational NLRB-representation process in an EFCA world.

3. What Would The Process Be For A Decertification Campaign?

EFCA is silent on the process for decertifying a union as the representative of employees. Surely, unions cannot promote the replacement of secret-ballot elections when it comes to representation elections while also advocating those same purportedly faulty secret-ballot elections for decertification campaigns. Would decertification be ordered based purely on an employee petition signed by more than 50 percent of the bargaining unit? Would the NLRB develop a sample decertification card for employees' use in such a campaign? Why should it be harder to get rid of a union than it is to get one?

4. Would Employers Have A Right To Appeal Unfavorable Interest Arbitration Decisions?

EFCA provides nothing about an employer's (or union's) right to appeal an interest arbitration decision that it believes is unreasonable or economically infeasible. If there is a right to appeal interest arbitration awards (and there is nothing in the proposed legislation to suggest that there is), what court or agency would hear it? What standards would be used to consider such an appeal? Is there any way to obtain relief from an untenable and burdensome interest arbitration award?

5. Do Employees Have The Right To Strike During Interest Arbitration Proceedings?

Most public-sector employees who fall under interest arbitration laws, such as police officers and firefighters, do not have the right to strike. EFCA is silent on employees' right to strike while an interest arbitration proceeding is pending. Would employees have the right to strike while participating in an interest arbitration proceeding? How can arbitrators calmly and rationally decide what a first contract should be while employees are on strike?


The questions set forth above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to analyzing all the problems and concerns raised by EFCA. Employers must be prepared for the challenges to come if EFCA becomes the law. Supervisors and employees must be educated as to the meaning and legal effect signing a union card would have in an EFCA world. Employer policies in such areas as nonsolicitation and trespassing should be reviewed and tightened. Good employee relations practices should be implemented, reviewed, and paid attention to on a regular basis. Should EFCA become law, union organizing and labor-management relations would be played out on a field much different from today's. Employers must be prepared to deal with it.

- Daniel V. Johns, Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP


CNN: Catholics slash cash to Rathke's ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereWade Rathke stories: here

ACORN's controversial co-founder Wade Rathke also founded SEIU

So today I got a letter sent to all Catholic Bishops in the U.S. announcing that due to serious problems at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is suspending all funds to ACORN.

It’s significant because the Catholic Church in the U.S. has given $7.3 million dollars to ACORN projects over the past decade. Just last year, U.S. Catholics gave more than a million dollars to ACORN. And it appears some of that money filtered down to the ACORN office in Las Vegas that made headlines trying to register the Dallas Cowboys football team to vote in Nevada.

The problem for the Catholics is two fold:

1. The Catholic Church is concerned about its own tax exempt status being involved in a group that is now so deeply involved in political support of one candidate.
2. The Catholic Church says questions have arisen about ACORNS financial management, fiscal transparency and accountability.

So, of course, I immediately called ACORN’s spokesperson Scott Levenson, one of many public relations specialists brought on by ACORN to fight all this bad press. And here is Scott’s response to the question about the Catholic bishop’s freezing ACORN funding:

“The facts are wrong and we will no longer participate in a Drew Griffin hatchet job against ACORN.”

Less than an hour later, after our editorial director made a call to ACORN asking if this really was their response, we got this from another public relations specialist ACORN brought on to fight the bad publicity:

“ACORN is grateful to have received CCHD funding for many years, and proud that CCHD has enabled us to help our low income constituency achieve the American Dream. We know that CCHD is reviewing their current funding, and we are in discussions with them about continuing their support.” Steve Kest, ACORN Executive Director

The tension over at ACORN must be so thick you could cut it with a …well, I guess a hatchet.

- CNN Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin


A picket-line President

Prez Bam: Not being collectivist = selfish

More collectivism stories: hereMore ACORN stories: here

Self-interest won't be tolerated in the New America

During the waning days of the US presidential campaign, Barack Obama is feeling confident enough of his chances that he—at a recent rally—didn’t dispute his being a Socialist. Obama was even a member of the New Democratic Socialist Party in the 1990s. Perhaps he will at some point even admit that his true intention for the USA is Soviet-style Communism. That, of course, will be after he is elected POTUS—largely due to his voter fraud strategic unit ACORN—and when it is too late for the all-too-many gullible American people to do anything about it.

During the aforementioned rally Obama said that his dastardly opposition had called him and his “spread the wealth” programs Socialistic, then added that in doing so these same opponents—McCain and Palin—had “made a virtue out of selfishness.” With that he has said that Americans who do not agree with his Socialist (actually Communist) policies of theft-by-politicians are selfish. One can only surmise that—considering his recent and ongoing investigations of both “Joe the Plumber” and media member Barbara West—that anyone who complains about Obama’s theft of their money will be intimidated and investigated to the proverbial “Nth” degree. After that, will there be prosecutions and possibly jail time—or worse? Looks like it. We already know that his prosecutorial “truth squads” are in effect in Missouri and at least one announced additional chapter exists in Pennsylvania under the auspices and rulings of Democrat Governor Ed Rendell.

Obama’s “Truth Squads,” his suppression of the media who ask either Obama or his VP candidate Biden uncomfortable questions, his banning media outlets who support McCain and his [already] directing Democrat-run states to investigate “Joe the Plumbers” who ask the secular messiah and/or his vice-prophet Biden questions that cause either of them to tell the truth gives us a clear picture of what Obama’s regime and ruling decrees will entail.

An Obama presidency means free speech—including that which asks unapproved questions of Democrat candidates is out, gone, ended—kaput! He will redistribute your money—he has said so on multiple occasions including an NPR interview—to those he considers to be more deserving than you. Note: One can deduce—as this is true Soviet-style Communism and Chicago-thug politics—that the recipients of this redistribution will include Obama and his cronies. Obama has expressed disdain for the US Constitution and has already advised that he wants a new” Bill of Rights that is not as ‘restrictive’ to the government’s treatment of its citizens.

The above assertions have been well-documented as fact and it’s time for some stark reality, folks. I’ve said it before but, it bears repeating. If you want the country to devolve into a Stalinistic government—that creates a permanent cabinet post for the Obama voter fraud unit ACORN (so that he will NOT ever be voted out)—vote for Barack Hussein Obama. If you want the USA to continue as a free Republic, vote Tuesday for John Sidney McCain. Remember, once a dictator seizes power, all bets are off. Any of the additional safeguards the founders incorporated into our US Constitution are moot if the ruling power chooses neither to follow nor to continue them. This country’s Constitution can be ended with the stroke of a presidential pen and the Democrat power elite agreeing.

Democrats Pelosi, Reid and Waxman have already told us that they will be redeploying the “fairness doctrine” in order to get rid of talk radio and conservatives—to end broadcast opposition to Democrats once and for all. Print media—whatever opposition still exists—will be next on their list. And with all 3 branches of government in their back pockets, they can and will finally destroy the country and set themselves up for never-ending and increasing power. The US Supreme Court’s passing laws that agree with Marxism are only one associate justice’s resignation away. Democracies can only last and be strong so long as people of good will and faith allow them to exist. Once those with opposite inclinations and intentions assume the reins of power, democratic republics end. Democracies—with not enough willing to protect them—die.

• Obama the Socialist:

• Not being a socialist (really Communist) selfish:

• Obama “Truth Squads”:

• Pennsylvania Democrat Obama “Truth Squad” members;

• Obama wants to rewrite Bill of Rights:

- Sher Zieve


Compassionate, anti-capitalist conservatism

More collectivism stories: here

Bush tried have it both ways from day 1

It's been argued that if Obama wins, the left will properly once again be blamed for the failures of collectivism. This is actually an example of a broader principle, one Miss Rand identified in her essay "The Anatomy of Compromise" [1]:
"When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side."
I suggest rereading that essay before Tuesday's election.

The essence of conservatism is an attempt to have altruism and freedom; it is essentially an attempt to obscure and evade basic principles. Saying of McCain that "at least he's better than Obama" means seeing him as a mixture of pro-altruism and pro-freedom elements. But conservatives are not just disintegrated mixtures; they are essentially compromised. It is wrong to see them as simply a mixture of good and bad in whom the good can be fostered. A conservative is never going to allow the advocacy of freedom to diminish his fundamental commitment to faith and altruism.

Ayn Rand also writes, "The rational (the good) has nothing to gain from the irrational (the evil), except a share of its failures and crimes; the irrational has everything to gain from the rational: a share of its achievements and values."

Conservatism is the collaboration by which altruism gains unearned credit for the achievements--the freedom and prosperity--of a selfish society. Conservatism makes altruism look feasible.

This is why the really colossal, groundbreaking new incursions of government power have been coming from the right. Next to Bush's establishment of an economic dictator and $700 billion socialization of the financial industry, the welfare programs the Democrats want are just a drop in the bucket. The left may dream these things up, but the right actually makes them happen.

So how do we avoid reaching the ultimate goal of altruism? "There is no way to stop or change that process except at its root: by a change of basic principles," Miss Rand writes. "In order to win, the rational side of any controversy requires that its goals be understood.... The irrational side has to deceive, to confuse, to evade, to hide its goals."

Let us first, then, state our goal unequivocally: a society that protects above anything else everyone's right to be selfish.

Which candidate's for that?


San Francisco protests


Chávez preps world stage for Prez Bam

More collectivism stories: here

Collectivist rivals to U.S. establish economic alliance

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has held up Russian economic cooperation as evidence of the two countries' "strategic" relations, the Mexican media reported on Wednesday.

"The establishment of a Russian-Venezuelan development bank, and an energy consortium involving [Russian energy giant] Gazprom and Venezuela's state-run oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela is evidence of our strategic relations," Chávez was quoted as saying at a meeting to support gubernatorial candidates in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira on Tuesday.

The Russian-Venezuelan intergovernmental commission will hold a meeting in Caracas on Thursday, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin leading a delegation of around 60 Russian businessmen.

Cooperation between Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Russia's largest independent oil producer LUKoil, as well as a project to establish a joint development bank is expected to be on the agenda.

Chávez said earlier that Sechin's visit would pave the way for the arrival of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Venezuela.

Chávez first announced Medvedev's "strategic" visit to Venezuela on October 10. Russian presidential spokeswoman Natalya Timakova has said Medvedev could call in some Latin American countries as part of his trip to Lima, Peru for the APEC summit on November 22-23.

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