With the installation of Al Franken in the Senate and yet another change of heart by Arlen "Flip-Flop" Specter, Democrats might well have a fillibuster-proof majority to ramrod the top item on Big Labor's wish list: The Employee Free Choice Act. So far much of the attention has gone to the bill's card check provision that would allow Big Labor to herd workers into a union without bothering with such democratic niceties as elections and secret ballots. But card check has an evil twin: The binding arbitration provision that has brought ruin to nearly every city where it has been tried, including Detroit, where Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia lives.
As Dalmia writes in The Wall Street Journal:
Under normal circumstances, when employers and workers negotiate an initial contract they are required by law to bargain in good faith until they come to an agreement. If they reach an impasse, workers can call a strike. But because a strike is costly for both sides there is a strong incentive for them to concede as much as possible to reach a compromise. However, since emergency personnel—firefighters, police and the like—are barred from going on strike in many states, about 20 states have embraced some form of compulsory bargaining. If the two sides can't agree on a contract within a prescribed time, either one can invite a three-member panel jointly selected by the union, city, and the state government to intervene and impose a settlement. This process is supposed to install a contract expeditiously.
But what does binding arbitration really do? Read all about it here.