Monday, December 15, 2008

Next Up: A Battle over Unionization

Next Up: A Battle over Unionization
By Jerome Grossman

In recent decades the number of U. S. workers in unions has declined dramatically from a peak of more than 35% to below 10%. Some of the factors in the decline have been the weakness of industry and manufacturing in America, the lengthy political dominance (now ended) of the anti-union Republican Party, the rulings of the National Labor Relations Board and the sophisticated anti-union tactics that some employers have used to sway or intimidate workers before the first union election.

The unions believe that a bargaining unit should be formed as soon as a majority of workers sign authorization cards. The employers now have the right to call for a subsequent secret ballot vote on unionization. This dual process often results in lengthy delays, angry relationships, employer pressures and legal expense more easily borne by the employer.

For years the labor movement has been trying to pass a law, The Employee Free Choice Act, to take employers out of the decision of the workers to organize themselves by recognizing card check elections as decisive.

The unions base their argument on the National Labor Relations Act, signed in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which made unionization the national policy, "To protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices......"

Last year, the House of Representatives passed 241 to 185 a bill requiring employers to recognize unions organized by card check. In the Senate, the bill passed 51 to 48 on a party-lined vote but failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to prevent filibuster.

Prospects for passage will be better in 2009. The Democrats will have at least 57 senators, perhaps 58, some GOP senators from heavily unionized states are up for reelection, and the legislation is supported by President-elect Obama, and Vice President-elect Biden.

The unions are already calling the legislation "An economic stimulus package for America's working families." The employers will cite the cost to business in a recession and the sanctity of the secret ballot. The general public may wish to support an increase in share for US workers in the declining American pie, a share that has gone down dramatically since the 1970s.

2 comments:

an average patriot said...

I know in the lie we are living under G W B we are told he cares about the average American as he shows he does not! He says he cares about the economy and he is the one who purposely destroyed it.

Can you just imagine if social security was privatized as Bush wanted? They want Health care privatized, you know unions are going!

I was concerned about the UAW during the bailout talks. They are going too. Unions like the auto industry is considered for average Americans.

As I keep saying, average Americans do not matter despite what you hear and are purposely going south!

It will get a lot worse I am afraid even under Obama though I still believe his hands are tied and more every day as Bush's team is working to hamstring him, but he will do the right thing for average Americans if given the chance!

jb said...

Let's do a social science experiment. Let's open auto factories, some with unionized workforces and some with non-union, depending on which state they are located in. Or use steel mills. Go whole hog on union work rules, also. Let these plant operate for several years, and see which ones prosper and which ones are forced to beg the government for a multibillion dollar bailout, postponing but not avoiding the inevitable bankruptcy that will eliminate the health insurance coverage and pensions of hundreds of thousands of erstwhile union members and their widows.
Yeah, let's do it.

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