Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Congressman John Kline Champion of Employer's Workplace Coercion

Congressman John Kline last week introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act (better know as The Employer Fear, Coercion and Intimidation Act). It is legislation that ensures businesses retain The Right to FORCE its employees to be subject to a 42 day Union Busting Campaign.

John Kline says his act would prohibit unions from coercing employee through a 'card check' system...which Kline describes as "notorious for coercion and intimidation". So I did some checking....

The facts tell a completely different story. In the last 60 years there have been 46 cases of Union Coercion while in the last year alone there were more than 3,000 cases of Employers Coercion ...hmm...Yes there is coercion Mr. Kline, but the facts show it’s on behalf of employers against workers and union organizers!

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections are also characterized by an extraordinary level of illegal activity… One out of every 17 eligible voters in NLRB elections is fired, suspended, demoted or otherwise economically punished for supporting unionization. Most end up losing their jobs while employers continue to practice these illegal and harassing activities t0 further their interests of a union-free workplace.

Kline would have you believe that a secret ballot is a fundamental principle of America, but the employer company controlling and running a secret ballot actually makes the process less democratic. The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election system is a secret ballot election—but in fact it's not like any democratic election held anywhere else in our society. It's really a management-controlled election process.

The corporations control the information workers can receive and routinely poison the process by intimidating, harassing, coercing and even firing people who try to organize unions. No employee has free choice after being brow-beaten by a supervisor to oppose the union or being told they may lose their job and livelihood if workers vote for the union.

And in case you're wondering why Kline and Big Corporation want unions to stay out of their business consider this:

  • Union workers are 63 percent more likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance.
  • Union workers are 77 percent more likely to have short term disability benefits

Unions enable their members to have jobs that are capable of sustaining a middle-class standard of living, with dignified wages, leave policies, health care, and retirement plans. Workers represented by unions earn, on average, 30% more than nonunion workers. And 79% of union members have employer-provided health insurance, compared with 50% of nonunion workers. The rates are nearly identical for employer-sponsored retirement plans. The benefits of union membership are most pronounced for people of color and for women

In areas where unions represent a high proportion of workers a particular industry, they can even help to raise industry standards across-the-board: improving wages and job quality even for workers who aren’t members. Not surprisingly, as union membership has declined over the past decades, the middle-class squeeze has intensified.

Unlike like John Kline's FEAR Act, the Employee Free Choice Act would restore that right, streamlining the process for employees to decide on union representation. Predictably, corporations and those that are their flunkies like John Kline would rather not pay higher living wages or contribute to employee health care. Presently the system to form a union under the Employee Free Choice Act would remain the same if passed. The only difference is the Employees NOT the Employers would decide which method to be used to form a union. Either a Secret Ballot Election or a Card Check.

The Employee Free Choice Act streamlines procedures for employees to decide on union representation and bargain a first contract. Under this bill, a union would be automatically recognized in a workplace when a majority of employees sign cards stating that they want to be represented by that union. To facilitate agreement on a first contract for employees after the union is recognized, the bill enables either the union or management to refer any disputes about the contract to mediation if an accord has not been reached within 90 days after bargaining begins. If the mediator is unable to reach a deal within an additional 30 days, the dispute will go to binding arbitration.

Finally, the bill increases penalties for violations of labor law: raising fines, tripling the amount of back wages employees can receive if they are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights, and requiring the courts to seek injunctions against employers, as well as unions, that violate labor laws


Joey said...

So, a secret ballot makes sense for voting for our politicians and voter ID in that instance is wrong, but it doesn't make sense in the work place? I don't follow the logic.

Truth Liberty Justice said...

Not when it's run by those having a vested interest. Secret doesn't equate to fair if the process is flawed by businesses being able to control the process. It would be like you running for office and then being able to control the secret voting election...see the flaw!

Joey said...

If the election is run by the business, then your argument makes more sense.

However, I think the solution is to change how the election is run, not switching to an open ballot.

I was in a union in a previous life and would hate to have to vote openly.