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What do you think of the Employee Free Choice Act?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1696) summary
Employee Free Choice Act - full text

mrblanche mentioned his opposition in the Proposition 8 thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche
I will feel free to criticize Obama, just as I criticized Bush, and Clinton, and Bush, and Reagan, and Carter, and Ford, and Nixon, and LBJ. If I think he's doing something wrong or stupid for the country (like restricting oil drilling, or taking away the rights of workers to a secret union ballot, or not owning a pet), I'll speak up. And I'm not afraid to say when I think he's doing something good, like getting his staff up to speed quickly (unlike Clinton, who was still trying to staff on Inauguration Day).
I haven't really made up my mind about this, but I'm leaning toward the thought that the card check would make unionization easier (think Wal*Mart employees). It's supported by the AFL-CIO, and opposed by employers.
Labor Seeks Election Rewards

Quote:
Labor's top priority is passage of legislation that would make it easier to organize unions, which advocates say would help labor groups expand their shrinking numbers and win better wages and benefits for average workers, whose pay has stagnated in the last eight years.
"In an economy that gives corporations far too much power, a union card remains the single best ticket into the middle class," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Union membership has dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent of all U.S. workers over for the past quarter century.
The Employee Free Choice Act, which would require employers to recognize unions once a majority of workers sign cards of support, is fiercely opposed by business groups that argue the measure would cost jobs and further weaken the nation's economy.
Currently, employers can demand that workers hold secret-ballot elections to determine whether to form unions, something labor organizers say allows companies to run campaigns that pressure workers into voting against organizing. At the same time, business leaders say the so-called "check card" legislation would deny workers a secret ballot, leaving them vulnerable to being coerced into supporting the formation of a union.
post #2 of 29
Union demands have already crippled our major auto makers. There was a time in our history where we needed unions but they have overstepped their bounds and have put too many businesses out of business with their unreasonable demands. More unions would scare the wits out of me.
post #3 of 29
I think it's an idea whose time is past and I also think it's the last thing we need. At the rate some of the largest corporations in this country are going I don't see how anyone can think that they are going to get a better shake from employers if they unionize. Just look at the mess GM is in. How is that supposed to work? Now we need government programs to bail out GM so among other things they can meet the demands of the union?

The 1930s are long gone. For one thing there are state labor law in place all over the US that prevent employers from taking unfair advantage of employees. We also have a global economy where even small companies can outsource to just about anywhere in the world, while larger companies can set up factories overseas. Unions drove the factories out the towns where I grew up, what are we as a country going to do when they drive out even more across America?
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Union demands have already crippled our major auto makers. There was a time in our history where we needed unions but they have overstepped their bounds and have put too many businesses out of business with their unreasonable demands. More unions would scare the wits out of me.
I agree with this post wholeheartedly.
post #5 of 29
Both of my parents worked in jobs that were supported by unions, and neither one of them ever elected to join their unions. This was during a time when jobs were more secure, and the need for unions was not as essential as when they were first formed. I've never been strictly against unions, because I think there were industries where they may have provided some assistance to workers, but I do think that they carried things to extremes.

But I have too many friends right now with absolutely zero protection with their job rights, and most of those are salaried employees. I'm salaried, and my company demands 10% overtime (no extra pay), but really expects you to work more like 50% overtime. With the unemployment rate rising and layoffs in my company, those that aren't killing themselves with ungodly hours are being let go. And this is not my company, it's happening to my friends in companies across the country. The threat of unemployment is enough to eliminate all job rights.

So while unions in their current structure aren't necessarily relevant in current society, the local/state regulations concerning work hours are not protecting people today. Salaried workers don't necessarily make more than hourly workers, so its not that they make that much more to justify the unreasonable demands (my first salary job was $9K a year). I don't have any idea on how to fix the problem, but its a problem long overdue for fixing.
post #6 of 29
I want to make it clear that I don't oppose the right of workers to unionize. I just oppose something that would make it easier for a few thugs to intimidate potential members into agreeing to a union.

The card check program takes away the employees' right to a free and fair secret ballot. We just had a big election here in the country. How would you like it if there were someone standing over your shoulder, watching you vote, and reminding you that they would remember your vote later? I live in an area that's about 50% black. I know I wouldn't have wanted a Black Panther watching my vote, telling me he knows where I live, where I work, and what kind of car I drive, any more than I'd like a Marine sergeant telling me the same thing.

Just as an aside, if you want to understand the true nature of some union fights, get the movie "Matewan."

In it, one coal mine worker is asked, "We want to form a union. You know what that means?"

"Yeah," replies the miner. "It means if I join the union, the mine owner will try to kill me, and if I don't, you'll try to kill me." In the background, his wife is wailing, "No syndicato, no syndicato!"
post #7 of 29
Very bad idea. As Linda said, unions are job killers.
post #8 of 29
Our daughter worked for a unionized company and she had no choice but to join the union even though she was against it. That isn't right IMO. Yes, unions protect their members but at what cost? When the employer can no longer meet the demands their only option is to close down the business and I don't see that as helping those members. They may well be a union member but they still won't have a job.

Yes, in these economic times there is no job security as a salaried employee but neither is there job security for a union member if their union leaders force the company to close down. The union leaders end up making out like bandits and the workers don't always win.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Union demands have already crippled our major auto makers. There was a time in our history where we needed unions but they have overstepped their bounds and have put too many businesses out of business with their unreasonable demands. More unions would scare the wits out of me.
I would place equal blame on both the unions and bad management/business decisions. The auto companies can't give away the gas guzzlers anymore and they are suffering huge losses because of it. People want vehicles that get higher gas mileage than they do now, the auto makers are too slow to change.

I'm not a big fan of unions even though I'm a member of one. Working for the government I wouldn't want my job if it wasn't union because we would have the crud abused out of us. Postal management is bad enough, without the unions it would be tyrannical.
post #10 of 29
My opinion of unions is very much coloured by an experience which is over thirty years old. I won't name the employer or the union. Suffice to say that it was a "closed shop", i.e. you belonged to the union or you did not have a job. So, despite the fact that I felt no need to belong to the union, I did.

The year is 1975. The company is young, the first collective agreement is in the making. Sometime in the spring -- maybe about March -- the union calls a strike vote. The premise is that "if the membership gives a strike mandate, it doesn't mean a strike, it just means greater bargaining power". The sheep follow and a strike mandate is given. Bargaining continues. There are several offers, the union refuses them without putting them to a vote. There is another offer, and there is reason to believe that the membership would accept it, given the chance to vote on it, but that opportunity is never given. Instead, the union takes its three-month-old strike mandate and calls a strike in June.

The membership is out for 15 weeks, and ultimately votes in favour of essentially the same offer that was put forward just before the strike. Meanwhile, the membership has been on the picket lines collecting $20 a week strike pay or not on the picket lines collecting nothing. Either way, they had to find some other way to live.

I'm not sure my finances ever truly recovered from that, and I will always be resentful of the way we were taken advantage of. It was never about getting a better deal for us; it was about getting a deal that would put more money in the union coffers. And it was always about that. And that was a large part of the reason I looked for another job five years later.

Unions had a valid purpose in their youth, but they have outlived that, and to my mind, they now do more harm than good.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Essayons89 View Post
I would place equal blame on both the unions and bad management/business decisions. The auto companies can't give away the gas guzzlers anymore and they are suffering huge losses because of it. People want vehicles that get higher gas mileage than they do now, the auto makers are too slow to change.

I'm not a big fan of unions even though I'm a member of one. Working for the government I wouldn't want my job if it wasn't union because we would have the crud abused out of us. Postal management is bad enough, without the unions it would be tyrannical.
I agree with you on the gas guzzling cars and how slow North America was to respond. I remember my first new car was a Honda Civic. I was told by my male friends at that time not to buy a Honda. They were new to this country and unproven - buy GM. I didn't listen to them and bought the Honda. I took my little Honda in for all oil changes required and any minor things like burned out headlamps. In the first 3 years I owned it, it cost me a total of $600 for those changes and minor repairs. That little 4 cylinder engine went over 400,000 kms before the body finally gave out. I doubt there were many GM cars on the road at that time that cost their owners $200 per year for those things. I don't place all the blame on the car manufacturers either - we wanted our big luxury cars to keep up with the Jones' - well we got what we wanted all right.

As for postal workers, I don't know the situation in the US but I do know firsthand that some Canadian postal workers deliberately choose the night shift so they can sleep on the job and hold a daytime job doing something else. I'm not saying they all do that, but I know for a fact that one person did and got away with it for years and years. Our postal employee who delivers our mail to our office only works about 5 hours per day at the post office and then works on his own business the rest of the day. I don't exactly have many tears to cry for these folks because these are the ones that make it bad for others. If they are disciplined they cry to their union and the union upholds their bad behaviour instead of slapping them down for giving union members a bad name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
My opinion of unions is very much coloured by an experience which is over thirty years old. I won't name the employer or the union. Suffice to say that it was a "closed shop", i.e. you belonged to the union or you did not have a job. So, despite the fact that I felt no need to belong to the union, I did.

The year is 1975. The company is young, the first collective agreement is in the making. Sometime in the spring -- maybe about March -- the union calls a strike vote. The premise is that "if the membership gives a strike mandate, it doesn't mean a strike, it just means greater bargaining power". The sheep follow and a strike mandate is given. Bargaining continues. There are several offers, the union refuses them without putting them to a vote. There is another offer, and there is reason to believe that the membership would accept it, given the chance to vote on it, but that opportunity is never given. Instead, the union takes its three-month-old strike mandate and calls a strike in June.

The membership is out for 15 weeks, and ultimately votes in favour of essentially the same offer that was put forward just before the strike. Meanwhile, the membership has been on the picket lines collecting $20 a week strike pay or not on the picket lines collecting nothing. Either way, they had to find some other way to live.

I'm not sure my finances ever truly recovered from that, and I will always be resentful of the way we were taken advantage of. It was never about getting a better deal for us; it was about getting a deal that would put more money in the union coffers. And it was always about that. And that was a large part of the reason I looked for another job five years later.

Unions had a valid purpose in their youth, but they have outlived that, and to my mind, they now do more harm than good.
That's what I meant above when I said the union management make out like bandits and the members are the poor suckers that end up losing.
post #12 of 29
I don't know enough about unions but Jesse's mom works for a company that makes parts for airplanes or some thing like that and Boeing is a union and they are on strike right now or at least they were a few weeks ago.. It doesn't make sense with the hard times we are in right now, I would think they would be happy to have a job and a pretty good one at that. Well not only I'm sure is it effecting Boeing as a company it is also effecting Jesse's mom because one of their bigger clients is Boeing and her job as already done a few layoffs and there may be more to come because of it.
I think that unions could probably be a good thing if the people in them were fair and rational about what they wanted. The sad thing is sometimes it feels without them employees are taken advantage of and with them the company is forced to make decisions that could but them out of business which not only hurts their business but could hurt others as well such as in Jesse's moms case.

Is there a happy Medium? I doubt it cause people are greedy whether it is the company it self who don't give the pay or benefits that they can or the employees that have the right to make demands that can put them out of business or strike which can put them out of business.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazycatlover View Post
I don't know enough about unions but Jesse's mom works for a company that makes parts for airplanes or some thing like that and Boeing is a union and they are on strike right now or at least they were a few weeks ago.. It doesn't make sense with the hard times we are in right now, I would think they would be happy to have a job and a pretty good one at that. Well not only I'm sure is it effecting Boeing as a company it is also effecting Jesse's mom because one of their bigger clients is Boeing and her job as already done a few layoffs and there may be more to come because of it.
I think that unions could probably be a good thing if the people in them were fair and rational about what they wanted. The sad thing is sometimes it feels without them employees are taken advantage of and with them the company is forced to make decisions that could but them out of business which not only hurts their business but could hurt others as well such as in Jesse's moms case.

Is there a happy Medium? I doubt it cause people are greedy whether it is the company it self who don't give the pay or benefits that they can or the employees that have the right to make demands that can put them out of business or strike which can put them out of business.
I just wanted to add here that I worked for Union Carbide for 28 years. We had only 1 plant in Canada that was unionized. Carbide always made an effort to pay non-union workers equal to or better than unionized. If you spoke to any ex-Union Carbide worker today they would tell you it was one of the very best places to work. Unfortunately because of the sabotage in India of the Carbide plant and the NY ambulance chasing lawyers, Carbide is no longer but their memory will live on in the hearts of those of us who were fortunate enough to be part of their company.
post #14 of 29
My Father worked at John Deere Tractor Works for 42 years. He was in the Union.
He used to tell about the lazy galoots that would be caught sleeping in the locker rooms while others pulled their weight for them. Couldn't do anything to them, the Union protected them. Ridiculous.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
My Father worked at John Deere Tractor Works for 42 years. He was in the Union.
He used to tell about the lazy galoots that would be caught sleeping in the locker rooms while others pulled their weight for them. Couldn't do anything to them, the Union protected them. Ridiculous.
Here, sometimes having had a union job makes it difficult to ever get another job that's not union.
post #16 of 29
This thread seems to have become a "What is your opinion of unions" thread.

None the less, I will respond to the original post asking for opinions on HR 1696. It doesn't seem like a good idea to me for an organization or individual to be selected as an employee representative by petition rather than by secret ballot.

Quote:
Currently, employers can demand that workers hold secret-ballot elections to determine whether to form unions, something labor organizers say allows companies to run campaigns that pressure workers into voting against organizing. At the same time, business leaders say the so-called "check card" legislation would deny workers a secret ballot, leaving them vulnerable to being coerced into supporting the formation of a union.
I don't see how employers can pressure employees if the ballots are secret. The employer wouldn't know who voted how so how can they apply pressure?

The response of the business leaders seems more on target to me. Collecting signatures for a petition lets everyone know how everyone else voted and so pressure can be applied.
post #17 of 29
Isn't that how Obama got the Unions behind him, by promising to do away with the secret ballot?
post #18 of 29
Well, it's not like the unions were going to endorse a Republican, or give them any money anyway.

I just appreciate freedom, and taking away a right to a secret ballot to me is just wrong, no matter how you look at it.

As far as unions are concerned, I personally feel in most cases today that most new union votes are punishment for bad management.
post #19 of 29
There needs to be a balance of unions and employers. I don't know how, but some unions have the employers by a stranglehold, while other industries really need their unions, and still other places so need unions I don't know why/how anyone works there besides desperation. Teachers, for example, need unions. Wal-Mart workers really need unions. Some other unions have taken it so far that the employers can't afford employees anymore.
post #20 of 29
Yep, that is about where I am on the Unions also Z.
If we didn't have them, we would need them.
post #21 of 29
Actually, I would disagree about teachers. Of all the people who don't need unions, they are #1.

But then, that's my opinion.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Actually, I would disagree about teachers. Of all the people who don't need unions, they are #1.

But then, that's my opinion.
Gee, thanks. Give us your "problem children", overcrowded classrooms, lack of materials, our own student loans to pay off, no free evenings or weekends, but don't expect us to organize.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Gee, thanks. Give us your "problem children", overcrowded classrooms, lack of materials, our own student loans to pay off, no free evenings or weekends, but don't expect us to organize.
As a former teacher, I know what you're talking about, but the teacher unionization can't be shown to improve education anywhere. Of course, that's not what it's for; it's to improve the lot of the teacher, not the student.

Non-unionized schools do as well for the students, and often better. The more the state and federal governments mess with education, the poorer it does.

On the other hand, our country needs a general overhaul on attitudes toward education. I'm hoping Obama's success will at least be a help with that.

But, to bring it back to the subject here, I support your right to organize, if you can convince others to do it. I just don't support your right to coerce organization from others.
post #24 of 29
Teacher's unions improve the lot of the teacher, right? In the very short-term, this may not improve the education of the students. But 50% of new teachers quit after their first year. Some, it's because they couldn't hack it. But some quit because they can't afford to be teachers, because they were willing and prepared to never be particularly rich but they didn't realize they would go bankrupt. Think of all the potential excellent teachers who can't/won't do it for what works out to be about $10/hr. If we can keep them, we improve education. They're not asking for $100,000 a year, but can anyone think of a single other field that requires that much training, a Master's degree, and all those tests that pays $30,000 a year if you're lucky?
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Teacher's unions improve the lot of the teacher, right? In the very short-term, this may not improve the education of the students. But 50% of new teachers quit after their first year. Some, it's because they couldn't hack it. But some quit because they can't afford to be teachers, because they were willing and prepared to never be particularly rich but they didn't realize they would go bankrupt. Think of all the potential excellent teachers who can't/won't do it for what works out to be about $10/hr. If we can keep them, we improve education. They're not asking for $100,000 a year, but can anyone think of a single other field that requires that much training, a Master's degree, and all those tests that pays $30,000 a year if you're lucky?
Not to mention the stress. Numerous studies have concluded that it's higher for teachers than for air traffic controllers.
Oh, well - at least it's rarely boring!
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Not to mention the stress. Numerous studies have concluded that it's higher for teachers than for air traffic controllers.
Oh, well - at least it's rarely boring!
Hey, and it can be fun! I spent a half day in Kindergarten today, back again tomorrow, and I didn't want to leave The kids begged me to stay and go to recess with them And that's why we do it.
post #27 of 29
Just don't talk politics to those kids and try to indoctrinate them Z.

just kidding.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Just don't talk politics to those kids and try to indoctrinate them Z.

just kidding.
You'd be amazed to know this school is very conservative and very Christian. Parents have a right to have their kids taught whatever way they want, so long as it's responsible and actually teaches them the same standards (which this school does). I haven't learned the morning prayer yet, but it's only my second day.

I also don't think personal beliefs of any kind belong in a classroom. It's inappropriate to have children know any of your own beliefs, the point is to help them develop the ability to think rationally and critically about the world and come up with their own.

So... Unions, eh? There's another reason we need unions, to stop bosses from demanding loyalty to anything outside the company (lame attempt to be on topic).
post #29 of 29
I always said, if I went back into teaching, it would either be in the fourth grade or below, where the kids think you're God, or at the university level, where you ARE God.

No offense to teachers. I drive a truck because of the frustrations of teaching. But our children learned more in the little old one-room school house, where the teacher knew every student and every parent. (I actually started in such a school in New Era, Michigan.)

A lot of things have changed, and much of the problem is with the parents and the culture, but the unions don't improve that.
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