When You're Losing the Game, Change the Rules

There's a great George Will column today on HR 800, the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act". It is a rather blatant payback to organized labor for its support in the recent elections. Will notes:

… union membership declined, yet again, in 2006, by 326,000. … The percentage of employees in unions fell from 12.5 to 12, down from 20.1 percent in 1983 and 35 percent in the 1950s. The growth area of organized labor is among public-sector employees, 36.2 percent of whom are unionized, compared with just 7.4 percent of private-sector employees.

The evidence is pretty clear, in other words, that unionization is increasingly irrelevant to ever-larger numbers of the private-sector workforce. So HR800 is a panicked response to put some very large thumbs on the unions' side of the scales as they hope to "persuade" people to join up.

Most outrageously:

It would allow unions to organize workplaces without workers voting for unionization in elections with secret ballots. Instead, unions could use the "card check" system: Once a majority of a company's employees signs a card expressing consent, the union is automatically certified as the bargaining agent for all the workers.

You might think that a bill labeled "Employee Free Choice" would demand secret balloting rather than a non-secret checkoff system where mob pressure would be effective. You would be wrong.

Will's article is well worth checking out. Another good recent article on HR800 is Bryan O'Keefe's, who points to something even more ominous:

According to the EFCA, when a nonunion company is unionized through the card-check method, management and labor would only have 90 days to settle a contract. After that, the union could force the newly unionized company into government-supervised mediation.

If union and management still have not reached an agreement in another 30 days, a government-appointed arbitrator would set the final binding contract terms.

O'Keefe points out how dreadful an idea this is; arbitrators are wholly unlikely to impose contracts based on marketplace realities. The result is forseeable:

The likely result is that even more companies will be forced to close shop and move jobs offshore. It's a mystery how this type of government policy would help the middle class that organized labor speaks of so often.

Well, frankly, it's not a mystery. If you follow the money and power, and ask "cui bono?," it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.

I'd like to suggest that you write your Congresscritter and ask them to vote against HR800, but in fact it has about 230 co-sponsors in the House. (And one of the co-sponsors is my own representative, Carol Shea-Porter. I guess it's a pretty safe bet she's not looking for my input on the matter.)

(O'Keefe link via Unconstrained Katie's Mom.)


Last Modified 2012-10-19 3:06 PM EST