Barack Obama

Card Check Imperiled

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Good news for those of us who don't think workplace unionization votes should be changed from secret balloting to unsecret signed cards:

Union label: Alcohol content 12%

Key Senate Democrats are wavering in their support of legislation that would give more power to labor unions, dealing a setback to labor's top priority as businesses warn of the damage the bill would cause. […]

At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure—an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval. […]

President Barack Obama reiterated his support for the bill last week, the first time since his inauguration. In a videotaped message to top union officials attending an AFL-CIO meeting in Miami, Mr. Obama indicated he would help labor pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

"We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests because we cannot have a strong middle-class without a strong labor movement," he said in the message.

Link via Jennifer Rubin. Reason on card check here.

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  1. In a videotaped message to top union officials attending an AFL-CIO meeting…

    Is this strait out of 1984 or what?!?

    Either that, or we resurrect the Obama/Osama meme, since they both communicate by videotape…

  2. “We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests because we cannot have a strong middlelabor-class without a strong labor movement,”

    fixed that for you.

  3. Thanks Reinmoose, because that immediately ran through my head while reading it.

  4. The Unions are insane if they think they can get this through.

    Card Check will be to Obama what HillaryCare was to Clinton.

  5. Moose, you’re such a hater. Lazy goldbricking jerkoffs need cushy jobs too!

  6. Reinmoose, you beat me to it. Apparently, the Demos have a completely different notion of “middle class” than I do. I got an earful of that “Reagan DESTROYED teh MIDDLE CLASS!” bullshit, the other day; apparently middle class means union. I never knew.

    I think of the middle class as an independent, entrepreneurial, business-owning group, not an enslaved and oppressed employee class.

  7. “We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests because we cannot have a strong middle-class without a strong labor movement,” he said in the message.”

    Uh Huh.

    Even though labor unions had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with creating the middle-class in the first place.

  8. I am adding “level the playing field” (plainly synonomous with “fairness”) to my drinking game.

    Cheers!

  9. What I don’t understand is this talking-out-of-both-sides-of-their-mouths that populist democrats have been doing in recent years.

    Everyone must go to college!
    We need to bring back the manufacturing jobs!
    We need to make it easier for people to force others to join unions!
    We need to be supporting our small businesses on main street instead of just giving giveaways to giant corporations!

    The contradictions are so bright they’re blinding

  10. Why does Matt Welch hate the workers?

  11. oops- “synonymous”

    It *looked* wrong, because it *was* wrong. Drat!

  12. Next up: a law requiring you to have a college degree in order to operate a backhoe. Or install a toilet.

  13. So it turns out that at least some Democratic Senators who were willing to vote for something they didn’t really agree with when they knew that Republicans and a Republican President would stop it are having seconds thoughts when their votes would actually matter.

    We’ll see, of course.

  14. Next up: a law requiring you to have a college degree in order to operate a backhoe. Or install a toilet.

    Don’t be silly. It’s not a law if it’s just a requirement by the toilet installers union. Sure they may charge higher rates, but it’s so that the toilet installers can pay off their student loans. That is… after they do a couple of years of public service after graduating.

  15. I told you so…that this silver-tongued orator/trained thespian who cocks his head back, lifts his nose up and pretends he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee but is really just a shadow boxer…that he couldn’t deliver the goods on card-check.

  16. The toilet installers who voted to form the union, however, will be grandfathered in and not have to go back for re-educa…for their college degree.

  17. We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests because we cannot have a strong middle-class without a strong labor movement

    a) this law would tilt the playing field in the favor of those workers who prefer labor unions

    b) we currently have a strong private sector middle-class with a weak private sector labor movement

    So many lies for one so recently assuming office.

  18. Lazy goldbricking jerkoffs need cushy jobs too!

    Isn’t that what monorails are for?

    The contradictions are so bright they’re blinding

    Well, they are the party of Science!

    an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval

    I will say, this whole 60 vote thing vice 50 for every single action is a mixed bag. I understand the counter-majoritarianism impulse (which has a lot of fans here – and I’m nominally a fan as well) but the design was for most things to be a simple majority with a few well defined actions to require a super majority. If the democrats were smart they should have let the ‘nuclear option’ back when the republicans had control (which If I remember correctly would have ended the filibuster for judicial nominees and everything else at the expense of not getting any business done for a while – in retrospect, not the worst thing)

  19. Who actually supports this with any reasoning, and what are those reasons? All I can see coming from this is violence, both involving property and life.

    I understand all the snark, and appreciate the chuckles I get from discussions of this, but this is dangerous shit. And the president supports it? Analyze that tape carefully, gentlemen; I’ve heard that in one frame his face falls off to reveal the Chicago machine inside!

  20. I need some clairification on what card check actually is:

    As I understand it the current system is secret ballot, like most elections.

    So card check is a non-secret ballot? So an organizer gives you a card and you check yes or no, with your name attached?

    Why is this fair? Would this not lead to peer pressure for those against to sign? What happens in a work place that unionizes when everyone knows who was against unionization?

    Or have I missed sumtin?

  21. aix42,

    It prevents The Man from harassing workers who want to vote for the union.

  22. Is there a union for strikebreakers?

  23. But doesn’t the Man just switch from the Employer to the Union? If a ballot is secret, how does The Man harrass the worker?

  24. aix42,

    Because it is not really a secret ballot now. The Man seas it and fixes it. The Union needs to keep an eye on The man. Just ask the Chicago Meat Packers from the 1800s.

  25. If the secret ballot is easily compromised then why not fix that problem instead of flipping from secret to non-secret? I get this feeling that many assume everyone wants to be in a Union, but The Man does not allow it. Personally I am glad to be free of Unions, where I advance on merit and hard work, not by seniority. If I am unhappy with my employer I look for a better employer. I guess they could all be terrible, but that is not my experience.

  26. I guess this headline seen on Google will bother some: “Obama makes call for sweeping education reform”.

    As if janitors should not go to college like everybody else.

  27. In Russia, playing field levels you!

  28. aix,

    You have revealed yourself as s shill for The Man. Only a CapitalisticCronie would share your view.

    Off to the KuntryKlub with you!

  29. The question is why do you hate the workers, TofuSushi?

    Unionbusting is a check on collectivism. Therefore, it is good for the workers.

  30. “It prevents The Man from harassing workers who want to vote for the union.”

    No — a secret ballot keeps the names of people who vote for the union secret from both union and employer.

    Depriving workers of the right to a secret ballot serves only one purpose: It enables union thugs to readily identify any dissent to union oppression and to retaliate so as to suppress any further dissent.

  31. Because it is not really a secret ballot now. The Man seas it and fixes it. The Union needs to keep an eye on The man. Just ask the Chicago Meat Packers from the 1800s.

    I assume you are jesting. If not, I apologize for not not acknowledging your ignorance and stupidity.

  32. What happens in a work place that unionizes when everyone knows who was against unionization?

    The question answers itself.

  33. Workplace shootings after someone has had enough harassment?

  34. aix42: Yes, the card check backers have various hand-waving arguments that don’t really make any sense to me, either. Around here, the late, unlamented joe basically argued that card check was a very good thing, but that it really wouldn’t change anything important, so all us naysayers were just stupid and anti-worker. Also, all instances of union violence and intimidation were “anecdotal” and should be ignored.

  35. Is the honeymoon over yet?

  36. “we cannot have a strong middle-class without a strong labor movement”

    Huh, that’s news to me, my parents, grand-parents, and great-grandparents.

    Here I thought it was hard work and innovation. Nope. Labor unions, apparently.

  37. Is the honeymoon over yet?
    I don’t think this arrangement will ever even be consummated.

  38. If that’s the case, can we get an annulment?

  39. Interesting. Put this together with Obama’s recent statement that maybe merit pay for teachers ain’t so bad, and his honeymoon with the unions may indeed be over soon.

  40. I don’t think this arrangement will ever even be consummated.

    Well, I feel like I’ve been fucked over already. Does that count?

  41. Thanks for the responses, I assume anyone would have corrected me if my original statements were wrong.

    If I had to guess, from a biased position, it appears that too many Unionization attempts have failed via secret ballot and that it does not make sense to those who want to unionize. How could any workplace vote no?

    Anyway, as a regular lurker I should acknowledge all the entertainment I get reading these comments. Golden Dollar Sign libations for all, mini American flags for some!

  42. I hate big labor nearly as much as I hate big government. And that’s quite a lot.

    Unions are mostly a protection racket.

  43. I like it when rival Unions have to compete to win the right to represent workers after a merger. That is when the true colors come out. The word ‘competition’ isn’t in the vocabulary. Monopoly is.

  44. Who’s a bigger supporter of labor unions than me? And I was sure this was not going to pass. Did anyone really think many Dems from Right To Enslave, whoops I mean “Work” states were going to vote for this? This is just a sop to the unions and a boogeyman (boo!) for the business favoring right…

    This was always fated to go the way of the Striker Replacement Ban. Remember that? Clinton had both houses for two years and never got it through…

  45. “Depriving workers of the right to a secret ballot serves only one purpose:”

    Then a lot of nonsense. Threats and violence would be illegal just like it was before.

    Here’s what it would do: since the % of people who repeatedly say they would join a union is far higher than the % that are now in unions, it would FREE up these people a bit to realize their voluntary wishes. It would act as a bulwark to the coercion which underlies that disparity.

    And we all know libertarians are opposed to that sort of thing! Unions, grrr, collectivism, grrr.

  46. “Would this not lead to peer pressure for those against to sign?”

    PEER PRESUSURE, OH NOES! THE HORROR.

    Really, it always trips me out when libertarians, who harp and harp about the only possible infringements on liberty are force and fraud, suddenly go into fits about union PEER PRESSURE! As if a man’s will is such a fragile thing that could not tell a fellow employee “no” because of horrible, horrible, PEER PRESSURE.

    Of course then they usually move to another hilarious tactic: arguing that unions are full of violent thugs who might beat you up if they know your name. Even though beating up people will be as illegal if this passed as if it did not.

    And notice the logic: some union members have employed violence in organizing efforts in the past, therefore we can so count on them to do it in the future we need legal checks on all union members, not simply on those members who actually engage in this behavior JUST IN CASE PEOPLE MIGHT DO THIS STUFF IN THE FUTURE.

    Now take that reasoning and apply it to gun owners. Come on. You can do it….

  47. “since the % of people who repeatedly say they would join a union is far higher than the % that are now in unions, it would FREE up these people a bit to realize their voluntary wishes.”

    They are already free to vote, by secret ballot, for unionization. They choose not to do so.

    The only purpose of stripping people of a private vote is to subject them to union intimidation in order to force unionization that people reject of their own free will.

  48. MNG-

    You don’t have your best stuff today.

  49. MNG-

    Of course, there are days when I don’t have mine, either.

  50. MNG, I suppose you don’t support secret ballots in real elections, then?

  51. MNG,

    It isn’t peer pressure, it’s hazing that occurs. You know the shit Liberal’s shit their pants over.

    But in some cases, such as the union I am forced to belong to: as in ‘closed shop’, I’d say the majority is completely apathetic.

    Everytime we enter into labor-contract negotiation, we are ‘sold-out’ by Labor and Management who make a devil’s bargain. The Union misrepresents our interests for more direct payments by our company to the Union, agreeing of course to undersell our most pompous claims of self-worth. Let’s face it, Unions just like Management will exploit sheep.

    Why this should surprise you only shows that you are a poor student of human behavior.

  52. “They are already free to vote, by secret ballot, for unionization.”

    Then why would the % of folks in the surveys be so different than the % that are unionized? Slack on the part of unions to organize the votes?

    No, simple. Coercion on the part of the employer. OHMIGOD, that’s right, employers can exert coercion on employees!

    “MNG, I suppose you don’t support secret ballots in real elections, then?”

    “Real elections”, by which I guess you mean governmental elections, are NOTHING like union elections currently are. If they were the Democrats could order all voters to attend Democratic rallies every day of the week or lose their jobs and could bar Republican volunteers from coming and handing out leaflets while letting the Dems do that.

    But you don’t know that, do you? Because the libertarian think tanks, funded by big business, don’t tell ya that…

    “You know the shit Liberal’s shit their pants over.”

    And obviously Libertarians too when it comes to this issue. Shit away…

    “Let’s face it, Unions just like Management will exploit sheep.”

    You can vote for union leadership. How many votes do you get for management? What’s that? None?

  53. Yes sir, you can vote for union leadership but you’ll never know whether those votes were counted correctly. That’s what card check is all about.

    You can quit your job if management is shit. What if you like your job and pay but hate your bullshit union.

    Correct! You can quit your nice job because of your union as well and belive me that’s the only way you can quit your Union.

    Finally, Libertarians do shit their pants over coercive actions. I just wanted you to admit that Unions do that kinda bullshit and you admitted you agree. And your answer is: that’s okay because it’s a Holy fucking Union.

    Now answer this: Do I contract work primarily to get paid or do I contract work to join a Union.

    And you’d be right to say that some of my colleagues climbed on board just to secure Union positions because they understand the Unions better than the clueless ovine masses.

    Talk about exploitation, you exploiting exploiter!

  54. Jester
    Let’s take it point by poing.

    “Yes sir, you can vote for union leadership but you’ll never know whether those votes were counted correctly.”

    WTF? I don’t think its about ballot fraud, it’s about the employer being able to subject the “secret voter” to all kinds of coercion before the election.

    “You can quit your job if management is shit. What if you like your job and pay but hate your bullshit union.”

    uhh, if you hate your job if management is shit but if you hate your job because that management entered into a contract with a union and you don’t like the provisions of that contract you, er, what? Can’t quite your job and go elsewhere? WTF goofball? You can quit and go somewhere without a union contract. Certainly you have the wherewithal to do that, don’t you?

    “Now answer this: Do I contract work primarily to get paid or do I contract work to join a Union.”

    If you voluntarily agreed to work for an employer that had a contract with a union, then you agreed to follow those contract provisions. Nobody forced you to work there. Go work somewhere else if you don’t like it, pussy.

  55. “Finally, Libertarians do shit their pants over coercive actions.”

    Libertarians shit their pants over coercive actions that involve NOTHING MORE THAN PEER PRESSURE?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH!

    No they don’t Sherlock, 99% of the time. Only in regards to unions it seems.

  56. No MNGoloid. They shit their pants over coercion as in force.

    As in: milk in the gas tank, slashed tires, false reports about work performance, that kinda shit.

    Not because someone called me a sissy cunt at work which by the way is the kind of shit your ilk would call sexual harassment or some other bullshit.

    You have now been drawn out of your protective bullshit shell as if that was difficult, you pathetic shill.

    Your pathetic scenario: Worker grumbles about pay. Boss cuts check and fires him. Worker is somehow cheated.

    Union scenario: Worker is content with wages for work submitted. His Union colleagues are not. They see him undermining their position. They beat the fuck out of him.

    No it’s not: “I won’t have lunch with you (which by the way would somehow be illegal in your mind in any other way)” It’s “You cross this line and personal havoc will be wreaked.

    MNG, you’ve been studying bonobos too long.

  57. figured as much.

    too much a coward once pinned against the wall by his own untenable ‘arguments’.

    Surprise, surprise.

  58. MNG, Jimmy Hoffa was killed by peer pressure?

    News to me.

  59. “But you don’t know that, do you? Because the libertarian think tanks, funded by big business, don’t tell ya that…”

    MNG, you need to stop playing with the ouija board. Or at least stop communicating with the spirit that calls itself “Edward”.

  60. MNG,
    Leaving aside your rather confused views on what constitutes coercion, how can employers coerce employees WHO VOTED BY A SECRET BALLOT?

    This is not a difficult concept. In one scenario (card check), certain people (union thugs-er-reps) know which people supported unionization and which were against it. In the other scenario, neither the employer nor the union knows who voted for or against. HOW IS THE FORMER SOLUTION LESS PRONE TO INTIMIDATION AND CORRUPTION THAN THE LATTER? I’m really curious to find out. Unless, of course, you simply assume that if the outcome of a particular process doesn’t fit your preferences, it must mean the process itself is corrupt.

  61. In other news,
    MNG shills for unions. Reasonoids not the least bit surprised.

  62. Then why would the % of folks in the surveys be so different than the % that are unionized?

    Because when faced with a poll question, some people think unions sound like a good idea, but when faced with an actual choice in a workplace, they don’t? Because unionization eventually cripples industries and causes them to grow proportionately smaller compared to faster-growing non-union competitors?

    it’s about the employer being able to subject the “secret voter” to all kinds of coercion before the election.

    And your proposed solution to that is letting the union know who is voting for them and who isn’t? How does that stop employer coercion?

    As for the “intimidation is already illegal” argument: How many employees intimidated by union-organizing coworkers are going to report it to the police? Only the ones who want to lose their jobs and/or make themselves miserable at work.

    And isn’t it funny that, after decades of workplace sensitivity training (“The picture of your wife in a bikini is sexual harassment of this female coworker!”), now we are told that anyone objecting to organized peer pressure at work is making a big deal about nothing….

  63. “Right to enlave”-states? Really, MNG? You think that not having shops where employers can only hire union workers is the same as forced labor?

    Your psychiatrist called. He says he’s recommending you up your meds.

  64. It seems that while joe’s sensitive spot was anyone saying anything bad about Obama, MNG’s is saying anything bad about unions.

  65. “Then why would the % of folks in the surveys be so different than the % that are unionized?”

    I have no doubt that you made this up, which is why you could not furnish any evidence of surveys (e.g., links to primary sources) that say any such thing.

  66. “Nearly three out of five survey respondents from a Peter Hart Research Associates poll report that they would join a union if they could, but workers attempting to unionize currently face a hostile legal environment and are commonly intimidated by aggressive antiunion employers.”
    http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2009/02/efca_factsheets.html
    According to a survey of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election campaigns in 1998 and 1999 by Cornell University scholar Kate Bronfenbrenner, private-sector employers illegally fire employees for union activity in at least 25 percent of all efforts to join a union.

    Employees not fired fear losing their jobs if they support union representation. According to the Bronfenbrenner survey, management forces employees to attend group anti-union presentations in 92 percent of all union campaigns.
    http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/57million.cfm

    “how can employers coerce employees WHO VOTED BY A SECRET BALLOT?”

    Making them attend anti-union rallies during work time?
    Promising to fire them all if the union vote passes?
    Actually firing or disciplining people who talk up the union during the employees own time during union election periods?

    This goes on all the time. Some of it is illegal and the NLRB hands out citations all the time.

    But “union goons come to my house and do bad things” happens very rarely actually.

    And since no one seemed to understand this argument the first time I posted it (too busy in frothing anti-union fits), here it is again:

    And notice the logic: some union members have employed violence in organizing efforts in the past, therefore we can so count on them to do it in the future we need legal checks on all union members, not simply on those members who actually engage in this behavior JUST IN CASE PEOPLE MIGHT DO THIS STUFF IN THE FUTURE.

    Now take that reasoning and apply it to gun owners. Come on. You can do it….

    Keep dreaming federal dog.

  67. Are you really expecting anyone to accept at face value self-serving claims by the AFL-CIO?

    Deal with the fatal logical problem with your fabrications: If people wanted to join a union, they could vote to do so in the form of a secret ballot, and their employer would never know. Employers cannot retaliate against people whose identities they do not know. That’s what makes the secret ballot an essential protection.

    Under those circumstances, people refuse to unionize. That’s not because of employer retaliation; it’s because they want nothing to do with predatory and corrupt unions.

    What you demand assures that employers know exactly who is advocating unionization, which readily enables them, if they want, to retaliate. You are therefore arguing against your own stated concerns, which, of course, are not genuine. Your real goal is simply to inflict threats and pressure by corrupt and predatory union corporations on defenseless workers who want nothing to do with them.

  68. I don’t support the NLRB anyway. I figure that while workers have every right to unionize, employers have every right to tell them to go screw themselves, fire them, and hire different workers.

    This is what I get for coming in late, isn’t it?

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