Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monopoly Unionism = Economic Anti-Stimulant

For years, scientific opinion polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly oppose federal labor laws that empower union officials to represent all employees in a company unit and deny union nonmembers the right to bargain for themselves. But Organized Labor’s top priority in the 2009-2010 Congress, the inaptly named “Employee Free Choice” Act, would rewrite federal labor law to make it even easier for union officials to secure monopoly-bargaining privileges over employees.

Well aware that the American people oppose monopoly unionism, union officials are citing as the key reason for passing it its alleged value as an economic stimulant as the nation seeks to pull itself out of a recession. However, even a cursory look at the contrasting economic track records of states in which a relatively high share of employees are under union monopoly bargaining and states in which monopoly bargaining is relatively rare shows this case is phony.

The record shows that the prevalence of union monopoly bargaining is correlated with lower real incomes, higher living costs, slower growth in jobs and job benefits, and higher unemployment. The evidence is overwhelming that enactment of federal legislation that is designed to put millions of additional workers under union monopoly-bargaining control would be economically harmful, not beneficial.

If Congress really wants to help the U.S. economy recover and restore opportunities for employees and businesses, it should instead revise federal labor law to ensure that it respects the ability of each individual employee to choose whether or not to be represented by and furnish financial support for a labor union.

For the full study "Helping Big Labor Corral More Workers Into Unions: An Economic Anti-Stimulant," from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, click here

17 Comments:

At 2/12/2009 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The evidence is overwhelming that enactment of federal legislation that is designed to put millions of additional workers under union monopoly-bargaining control would be economically harmful, not beneficial.

The evidence is also overwhelming that the Democrat party is in the pocket of the labor unions.

Otherwise Obama wouldn't have signed This

 
At 2/12/2009 11:15 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

The survey question below from the article, in italics, is slanted to elicit an answer in the affirmative to the trigger word “right.” Of course, people always want their “rights.” Who does not? By the same token, one could ask if a person should have the “right” to belong to a labor union. Legitimate survey firms pose both of these questions, sometimes in disguised forms, in a survey far apart from each other and then compare the answers for bias before reporting their findings as valid. Obviously, if 81% of the people answer yes to the first question also answer yes to the second question, the findings are pretty useless.

For example, a December 2006 nationwide survey on the monopoly-bargaining issue,
Commissioned by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research and conducted by veteran pollster Del Ali and his firm Research 2000, posed the following question:
As you know, labor unions are permitted to represent all employees in A company unit.

Do you believe that employees who do not want to be represented by a labor union should or should not have the right to bargain for themselves?


The scientific Research 2000 poll found that 81% of Americans who regularly vote in
statewide elections believe that employees in unionized businesses who do not want to be
Union-represented should retain the right to bargain for themselves. Just 17% of regular voters in statewide elections believe employees should not have that right, while 2% are unsure.


Educate yourselves. Don’t get fooled by sloppy research; know how unscrupulous researchers think.

 
At 2/12/2009 12:44 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Word games, Walt. With card check, people have the right to remain silent.

 
At 2/12/2009 1:20 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Fred,

Card check (EFCA) gives people another choice they don't have now if the employer objects to a union, so it improves a worker's options. It's the employer who demands a secret ballot--employees can always make that choice. By the way, you can still easily decertify a union using card check, so why should they not just as easily be certified that way?

As someone who had designed survey questions, I can state that any researcher who knows how a question will be answered before it is asked has an agenda besides valid research. Attempting to use emotional language to jerk the respondent around does not result in an empirical analysis. That’s playing games.

 
At 2/12/2009 1:38 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"It's the employer who demands a secret ballot--employees can always make that choice."

why wouldn't the employee want a secret ballot?

 
At 2/12/2009 2:10 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Paul,

I don't know why. I'm for the employee making his or her own choice however and whatever they choose. They can’t do that now if the employer refuses to accept signed authorization cards. Employers can voluntarily accept unions though card check now if they want to, so EFCA gives employees more rights than they have now while taking none away. Isn’t that a good thing?

The only people who believe unions are more intimidating than companies and would or could force workers to vote yes in a card check also think they can beat the house in Vegas. That just can’t happen because, just like Vegas, the employers hold all the cards in an organizing drive. They can legally force you to listen to them whether you want to or not because they are paying you: Unions do not have such a captive audience.

If you want to see some of the illegal tactics used by employers to keep unions out, spend a few hours reading actual cases at the NLRB website. Pull a random sample and do your own empirical research. As you will find, employers only have to pay an employee back pay and post a sign in the workplace on a bulletin board if they are found blatantly guilty of violating the NLRA; no fines are currently allowed for even the worst cases. That’s just like me stealing your computer while you are using it and only having to give it back if and when I get caught by the police and found guilty by a judge years later. Not much disincentive to steal: Is there?

 
At 2/12/2009 3:41 PM, Blogger RebelRenegade said...

I believe workers should be able to organize and form a union.

I believe employers should be able to not recognize/bargain with that union.

 
At 2/12/2009 4:29 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

RebelRenegade,

That's like saying people should be able to buy insurance, but insurance companies do not have to pay you if you file a legitimate claim.

 
At 2/12/2009 4:38 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

That's like saying people should be able to buy insurance, but insurance companies do not have to pay you if you file a legitimate claim.

No Walt, that's like saying people should be allowed to buy insurance from anybody they want to and insurance companies should be allowed to refuse insurance to anybody they want to.

Why do unions get such a bad rap in fiction? Is it capitalists paying movie companies to paint unions in a bad light? Surprising either way - I figured them movie people were pretty liberal.

 
At 2/12/2009 5:16 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Card check (EFCA) gives people another choice they don't have now if the employer objects to a union, so it improves a worker's options. It's the employer who demands a secret ballot--employees can always make that choice. By the way, you can still easily decertify a union using card check, so why should they not just as easily be certified that way?

It's a matter of RISK Walt.

It's a matter of being willing to be confrontational.

"Card Check" is BULLSHIT. There's a reason our political elections have been strongly slanted towards secret ballots -- that way it is MUCH more difficult for ANYone to pressure you into voting one way or another. By yourself, with a private ballot, that no one gets to connect to you, you will clearly be able to vote AS YOU TRULY WISH.

There is NO chance -- whatsoever -- of someone finding out how you voted and retaliating against you if you voted in a way they didn't want.

There is no chance of someone looking over your shoulder as you vote, and glaring at you to make clear their disaproval -- especially a person who might be your supervisor or "union rep" if it passes.

Most people are RISK AVERSE. If they think someone might retaliate against them knowing how they voted, they are VASTLY more likely to vote as that person wants them to, and any claim to the contrary is absolute BOVINE EXCREMENT.

Most people are also wary of confrontation. If there is someone with a strong personality (an emotional or physical bully, whatever), in their presence, who will be aware of how they voted, then they will tend towards voting as that bully wants, and not as they might choose to do, absent of the fear of retaliation by the bully.

You CANNOT possibly claim you are unaware of this, Walt. It's basic human behavior 101.

To attempt to defend "card check" as even VAGUELY "neutralizing" is flat out reprehensible.

Anyone who pushes for it is UNION SCUM, who clearly does not give one tinker's DAMN about anyone or anything but increasing union power at all costs, no matter the detriment or costs to people in and out of unions.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

>:-(

 
At 2/12/2009 7:28 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Oby,
So, should we eliminate card check to decertify unions and make that only by secret ballot, too?

Personally, I don't push for unions. I push for the right to belong or not to belong to a union. Your free choice of association.

Perhaps no one receives greater benefits from unions than non-union workers. Employers do not want to be unionized so they realistically have two choices: 1) Treat the workers well so they will not vote a union in, or 2) Treat the workers so badly and intimidate them so much by threats that they vote the union down. One’s good and one’s not so good.

Whether I work union or not (I do both), I do not want to work without a union presence. Power corrupts (corporations) absolute power (without unions) absolutely corrupts. No unchecked power, be it government or companies, does not eventually turn tyrannical.

 
At 2/13/2009 7:02 AM, Anonymous Ralph Short said...

1. With the executive order signed the first thing that hits me is who pays for the higher cost due to restrictive work rules, redundancy, etc. The taxpayer gets screwed again.
2. My own experience with unions is essentially they are the defenders of mediocrity. This is based on types of grievances filed, arbitration costs even for blatant insubordination and the wish lists presented in negotiations.
3. In any union shop I was familiar with the best workers, the most innovative workers, the most reliable workers are paid exactly the same as the guy who does as little as possible.
4. It is a fact that without the secret ballot there is intimidation. I have personally seen tires slashed, threatening phone calls and other acts by organizers to make sure the "brother and sister" stay in line.
5. The company needs to function like a dictatorship, hopefully a benevolent one but still a dictatorship. That is how they survive and that is how you hold an individual (s) responsible.

The failure of cos. like GM, Chrysler and others is not entirely due to unions. They do play a big part however, because the leadership is less interested in the cos. profitability and competitiveness versus their own reelection chances. Combine that mentality with corporate leaders that focus more on their own career path as opposed to the health of the company and you have the complete recipe for failure.

Finally, when they have reached rock bottom, they go to Washington to seek bailout funds and urge congress to pass protection laws (stealth taxes) that the rest of the citizenry have to subsidize.

The so called card check proposal is primarily designed to increase union membership and thereby hasten the passage of protection laws. The end result is the rest of us will therefore be paying "union dues" through higher costs and taxes.

 
At 2/13/2009 7:35 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Ralph Short,

You can personally like or dislike unions. My last two years of research into the NLRA and NLRB shows evidence that the most common complaint ULP (unfair labor practice) filed is employee discharge for union activity. The usual remedy for blatant violations of the law, after three years or more, the employee receives back pay from the employer minus any unemployment pay or pay received from another employer. If you have any evidence that shows unions intimidate employees at a higher rate than employers, I would be happy to add it to my research. Regardless, unions cannot fire people, employers do and can.

My position is the mere existence of labor unions has an immeasurable but positive effect on United States workers on the whole. Just as policemen do not have to pull their firearms to control suspects, workers do not have to belong to a union to affect their relationship with the employer. A country without unions would consolidate power in the corporate entity at 100% rate.

Union membership increased from 12.1 % of the workforce in 2007 to 12.4% in 2008 (an increase of over 400,000 union members), so don’t believe the popular rumor unions are obsolete or not wanted by the U.S. workforce.

(Source: BLS)UNION MEMBERS IN 2008

In 2008, union members accounted for 12.4 percent of employed wage
and salary workers, up from 12.1 percent a year earlier, the U.S.
Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today [Jan. 09, 2009]. The number of workers belonging to a union rose by 428,000 to 16.1 million.

In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available,
the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million
union workers.

 
At 2/13/2009 10:14 AM, Blogger RebelRenegade said...

Walt G> No I don't think people should be forced to enter into a contract.

If an insurance company agrees to insure you, they entered into a contract and should abide by it.

I don't believe that the law should force a company(or person) to enter into a contract just because the other side wants to. You need two willing participants, not one.

 
At 2/13/2009 10:43 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

The NLRA is a national law. If a company has to obey a contract, why would it be permissable to violate a law? I did not agree to the speed limit law; however, I still have to obey it.

 
At 2/14/2009 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former union member in the SIU, I saw tremendous corruption with the officers ruling the rank and file like their personal fiefdom.

While the quarterly union dues wernt that bad, the "donations" were the real problem.

The patrolman or union officer would write you out a bill of ten times the union dues with 9/10 being "donations". If you didnt pay you didnt ship out. If you went to the feds you would probably "fall overboard" the next trip out.

The union bosses in every port were Italian Americans out of NYC.
I got paid off in Oakland Calif and the patrolman arrived on the dock in a Cadillac. He had a big expensive ring on most fingers of his right hand and spoke with a thick bronx accent. He could have been from central casting for a Mafia movie.

Interesting that Walt leaves unions out in his comment on power corrupting:

"Power corrupts (corporations) absolute power (without unions) absolutely corrupts. No unchecked power, be it government or companies, does not eventually turn tyrannical."

I can assure from personal experience that unions can be as corrupt or even more so than any corporation.

 
At 2/14/2009 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Union membership increased from 12.1 % of the workforce in 2007 to 12.4% in 2008 (an increase of over 400,000 union members), so don’t believe the popular rumor unions are obsolete or not wanted by the U.S. workforce."

One of the reasons for this is because much of union membership is of government employees.

Unlike the worker in the private sector whose job is dependent on his employer making a profit to stay in business, government workers get their paychecks from taxes and or deficit spending. So they are not dependent on their employer making a profit.

Ironically many in the private sector who have lost their jobs in these hard times must pay abusive property taxes to pay for the lavish benefits and wages of government workers whose jobs are secure.

And the lavish pensions of government workers are in many cases bleeding the local govts dry with huge percentages of their future budgets locked into ever increasing costs for these pensions of their union workers.

 

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