Saturday, March 14, 2009

EFCA issue heatin' up

Who woulda thunk that a piece of legislation pronounced "eff-kuh" for EFCA or the Employee Free Choice Act or the "card check" bill would become the first legislative hot-potato on Capitol Hill? It was introduced into both houses of Congress this past week and, boy-oh-boy, the gang war has begun between anti-EFCA and pro-EFCA factions.

Basically, EFCA "would make it much easier for workers to organize." Anti-union forces, euphemistically referred to by the so-called liberal press as pro-business groups, are playing up the outright lie that "it would eliminate secret ballots in union elections." It would not do this, but the truth has never stopped anti-union front groups in the past from making stuff up to protect so-called pro-business interests that we are told would suffer unfairly under a system that would grant US workers greater rights.

These so-called pro-business front groups call themselves names like the Workforce Fairness Institute and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. Kinda reminds us of promoting the corporate testing of America's schoolkids under the banner of No Child Left Behind.

Another misperception being played up by the anti-union gang is that America's small business employers would go under if EFCA is passed. This misperception does have some traction, but that traction is not based in reality. What's really going on here is that America's large corporate employers are using small employers as their Trojan Horse to get inside the hallowed gates of pro-small business interests. EFCA would absolutely result in highly successful US corporations having to broadly share in the fruits of our economic growth, which would cut into CEO compensation and decrease shareholder benefits. We can all decide for ourselves if we think this greater sharing of our economic wealth is good or bad for America.

Here's the truth:
"Under the Employee Free Choice Act, if a majority of employees signed a card requesting a union, the union would be validated without a secret ballot election. A majority of employees could choose to request a secret-ballot election."

So in other words, EFCA would not eliminate secret ballots in union elections. It reinstates that choice for workers, and takes away an employer's legal right to prevent workers from forming unions using only a secret ballot process. EFCA would simply take away an employer's veto power over how its workers choose to sign up for a union.

The question that pro-EFCA groups would be well-served to focus on is:
Why is it that anti-union front groups are so heavily invested in preventing US workers from getting back their right to sign cards as a way to form unions?

An answer to that question would reveal much about the true intent of the anti-EFCA movement.

Meanwhile, well-financed anti-EFCA front groups (union-opposing industry lobbyists) are "trying to influence" national legislative opinion, targeting pro-EFCA representatives like George Miller, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Zoe Lofgren, Barney Frank, and Dennis Kucinich.

So, where do our representatives stand on EFCA? Barbara Boxer is an original co-sponsor and remains supportive. Dianne Feinstein is waffling. She used to support it but has suddenly developed "concerns about this extraordinarily difficult economy." She is withholding her position until the best possible politically-expedient moment, like always. Lynn Woolsey is a co-sponsor.

Read "'card check' labor bill stirs controversy."

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