Bookmarked at for 2007-02-27
Durable Goods Orders Down

Ezra Klein on the Employee Free Choice Act

Ezra Klein on labor unions:

Ezra Klein: A System of Checks and Balances (Working People Only): Steven Greenhouse has a very peculiarly written story (why isn't the bill named or described till halfway through?) on the coming clash over the Employee Free Choice Act.... Democrats can't break a Senate filibuster or overturn the promised presidential veto. Remarkable how our legislature found it so easy to heighten the obstacles for declaring bankruptcy but seems totally stymied when aiding workers who want to join a union....

Towards the end of the article we get back into the debate over whether card check -- wherein workers simply sign cards to join the union -- is a legitimate process, or if, by denying the employer a distinct NLRB vote it can intimidate and sabotage, it exposes workers to union intimidation. Happily, there's actually data.... [T]he Eagleton Research Center and Rutgers University surveyed workers to see how they compared.

22% of workers surveyed said management "coerced them a great deal" during union elections. 6% said unions did the same. During the NLRB election, 46% of workers complained of management pressure. During card check elections, 14% complained of union pressure. Workers in NLRB elections were twice as likely as workers in card check elections to report that management coerced them to oppose -- and even in card-check elections, 23% of workers complained of management coercion, more than complained of union coercion! Workers in NLRB elections were more than 53% as likely to report that management threatened to eliminate their jobs.

Even more interesting, fewer workers in card check campaigns said coworkers pressured them to join the union (17% to 22%). Workers in card check elections were more than twice as likely to report the employer took a neutral stance and let the workers decide. But, rather hilariously, anti-union Labor Secretary Elaine Chao concludes that, "a worker's right to a secret ballot election is an intrinsic right in our democracy that should not be legislated away at the behest of special interest groups." A worker's right to organize, conversely, can be swiftly sacrificed atop the altar of business interests.