Mar 2, 2007

Rogers votes against the middle class worker


U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers voted against working men and women and the middle class Thursday by voting against HR 800, the Employee Free Choice Act, that would allow workers to organize a union free of an employer’s intimidation, free from fear of being fired and free from retaliation.

Despite Rogers voting against the average wage earner, the bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 241-185 with 13 Republicans voting for the middle class. However, the fight is not over, and it must go on to the Senate for approval. The powerful and rich U.S. Chamber of Commerce is already retaliating by launching a flight of radio ads today in 51 House districts. “We’re making people feel pain. You cannot cross the Chamber and support big labor at any cost,” Chamber national political director Bill Miller said in an interview. “The price is having thousands of dollars of radio run in your district," according to The National Journal of Feb. 27.

Unfortunately, this is one of the worst anti-union, anti-worker and even anti-U.S. manufacturer White Houses in recent years, and President Bush has pledged to veto the EFCA if it reaches his desk. The pro-worker Democrats only have a one-seat majority in the U.S. Senate, and groups like the Chamber plan to pump plenty of cash and resources into the fight.
“It's going to be even bigger and nastier with the whole kitchen sink,” Miller said in the Feb. 27 interview.

The EFCA will end a system that allows employers to coerce, intimidate, harass and threaten and even fire workers who dare to bargain for a better life. It was key to ending a system that allows corporations to destroy America’s middle class and lower working and living standards for all of us by blocking workers’ free choice.

2 comments:

liberals Hate America said...

Guru, you are feeble minded, how can you live in Michigan and not see the harm this would do. Our states economy is tanking and you want every manufacturing job in Michigan to be under a Unions thumb. I work at an OEM manufacturing plant with fewer than 300 employees and 2 times the UAW has tried to organize us. The first vote lost and at the counting when the UAW lost the organizers left in such a hast that they left all the pro-union employees that had gathered outside in the cold flat and did not even have the respect to talk to them. The company VP had to tell them the company had not voted in the Union. That is just plain wrong. The second vote was called off the day before the vote as the QAW realized they were going to loose and did not want another lose on there record. That is again wrong, as the shop organizers at least were due to let the workers vote. Again the UAW organizers ran with their tail between their legs and did not even have the respect to talk to the very persons that were trying to get the union in. This is how Union work and this is bad business.


Unlike secret ballot elections, authorization cards are signed in the presence of a pro-union employee or a union organizer. NLRB supervision would be unnecessary. Such a situation obviously lends itself to coercion of one form or another., there have been many instances of organizers threatening workers and of pro-union workers exerting all kinds of pressure, subtle and not so subtle, to get employees to sign authorization cards. There have been slashed tires, anonymous threatening phone calls, social ostracization, direct threats of physical violence, and many other coercive acts. The average worker will go along to get along. When there is a secret ballot, however, workers will be able to vote their consciences, not be intimidated by those who want them to act as told.

While the AFL-CIO and other unions support Kennedy's proposal to do away with secret ballot elections, they do favor secret ballot elections when it comes to decertifying a union, which is a procedure that permits workers to decide if they want to continue being represented by a union. In the case of decertifications, the unions feel that management might intimidate union members to throw out the union and so there should be secret elections. This lack of logical consistency points to the real union agenda, which is to increase membership, while discouraging decertifications.

With secret ballots, unions win just over 50% of their elections. With card authorizations, however, unions win more than 80% of the time. And that could spell big trouble for Manufacturers.

Here are several examples of the loss of protection for corporations, if the "Employee Free Choice Act" becomes law.
· In an NLRB supervised election, workers' rights must be posted by the employer three days prior to the election. With card checks, workers rights are explained by a union organizer.
· When NLRB supervised elections occur, there can be no captive audience speeches within 24 hours of the election. With card checks, workers can be subjected to pro-union speeches even while they are signing their cards!
· NLRB elections have observers selected by management and labor. With card checks, workers signatures are solicited by union organizers.
· In an election, the ballot box is inspected and sealed by the NLRB. With card checks, union organizers control the actual cards.
· In elections, no workers' names or other identification appears on the ballots. On cards, the signers' names appear.
Why not make every State a Right To Work State, and add this to the Employee Free Choice Act bill?
Proponents of right-to-work laws point to the Constitutional right to freedom of association, as well as the common-law principle of private ownership of property. They argue that workers should be free both to join unions and to refrain from joining unions and, for this reason often refer to non-right-to-work states as "forced-union" states. They contend that it is wrong for unions to be able to force employers to include clauses in their union contracts which require all employees to either join the union, or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Furthermore, they contend that in certain cases "forced union dues" are used to make significant contributions to support political causes, causes which many union members may oppose.

Communications guru said...

Well, Hate America. So you work at a plant enjoying hard-fought benefits won by the sacrifices of union members, but you don’t support them? Why am I not surprised? According to Harley Shaiken, a professor specializing in labor and the global economy at UC Berkeley (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-shaiken17feb17,0,312807.story?coll=la-opinion-center), Unions paved the way to the middle class for millions and pioneered benefits such as paid pensions and health insurance. Now labor's sliding numbers are contributing to the squeeze on the middle class. Unions raised the standard of living and improved things for all workers, both union and non-union.

I live in Michigan because the unions created a middle class. Like many of other people in the 1920’s, ‘30’s and ‘40s my grandfather came up from Tennessee to Michigan to earn a better and safer living. Unions have nothing to do with the slow down of Michigan’s largest employer. Worker productivity jumped by a record 20 percent between 2000 and 2006, yet real wages (pay adjusted for inflation) edged up an anemic 2 percent. Meanwhile, fewer workers are getting employer-based health insurance or pensions. Also, Isn’t OEM Manufacturing in California, not Michigan?

Tell me, how could the union organizers know they would lose before even bringing it to a vote if the majority of the workers had already signed cards to begin with? In most decent places that treat their workers well and actually bargain in good faith, a majority of workers signing the card is all they need to establish a union as the worker’s bargaining agent. And the cards can be signed in secret. The election is just an opportunity for management to unfairly lobby against the union, and the experience where you work clearly illustrates that.

“There have been many instances of organizers threatening workers and of pro-union workers exerting all kinds of pressure, subtle and not so subtle, to get employees to sign authorization cards. There have been slashed tires, anonymous threatening phone calls, social ostracization.”
Really, show me some examples. Just read my post and see what violent methods management used in the past to stop unions. Even if this alleged pro-union intimidation was going on, why is it you have no problem with management using intimidation? Why do you want to preserve management's power to exploit the election procedure to mount aggressive, one-sided attacks on workers' freedom of association?

Lance Compa, a senior lecturer at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/26/AR2007022601245.html) said even when by a big majority workers join a union to bargain collectively, employers can force a vote run by the NLRB. During the weeks it takes to set up the election, management can launch a devastating campaign to thwart workers' choice. Employers say they are just telling employees the downsides of organizing. But they go way beyond that point, hauling workers into mandatory meetings and threatening to shutter the workplace or to permanently replace workers who exercise the right to strike.

While the employer can use that time to harasses workers in mandatory meetings, firing or threatening organizers and management has unlimited power to hold captive-audience meetings where they can legally "predict" workplace closure, as long as they don't illegally "threaten" it (a Supreme Court decision created the distinction, though many understandably have trouble differentiating between the two). And how can union organizers “threaten’ and intimidate” workers by being relegated to passing out flyers to workers speeding out of parking lots and asking time-stressed employees to attend evening or weekend meetings? I guess that sounds pretty fair to you, hate America.

Where did you get these talking points, hate America, the Chamber of Commerce? They have said “It's going to be even bigger and nastier with the whole kitchen sink,” and they are right. I actually found one of your talking points at U.S. House Republican Conference web site, http://www.gop.gov/news/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=59162. By the way, none of them are true.