Saturday, August 7, 2010

Well, We Dodged Those Bullets--For Now

The Senate has gone into recess, and Harry Reid ended up shooting blanks with some of his radical pro-union bills. At least until after Labor Day. Three major union power-grabs have been put temporarily into an induced coma. Sleep peacefully Card Check, Police and Firefighter Monopoly, and Disclose. Uncle Harry will reawaken you in September.

For those of you who haven't had to deal with union thugs, "card check" is the favorite ploy of union organizers who know that they are very unlikely to be able to get enough votes to unionize a given business if there is a secret ballot. So they send in the thugs. The concept of card check is that instead of calling a meeting of all the employees of the business to obtain a fair election, the union organizers are allowed to go to individual employees, one by one, and present them with a card that essentially says "yes, I want to have a union shop." It's the equivalent of "Stop, BANG, or I'll shoot." Two goons who are standing over you, have your name, and know your personal information are now "asking you nicely" to sign the card.

I chose to address card check first because that buckshot comes out of a double-barreled shotgun. If Reid should fail in the fall, let us not forget Obama appointee to the National Labor Relations Board Craig Becker ( here ) who said in no uncertain terms that he would impose card check whether Congress likes it or not. Their goal is to unionize every business and governmental agency in America. Unions depend in large part upon a membership of sheep upon which they can feed, and that means the sheep can't be allowed to go into the barn and decide that they choose not to be eaten by the union wolves. Naturally, in one of those horrendous reversals of reality, the Democrats called this bill "The Employee Free Choice Act."

In addition, Democrats depend on big unions which bleed the membership for dues that they spend illegally on political campaigns for candidates that favor unions. I think the expression is circle jerk. Progressive Democrats and union bosses don't care if they kill the business geese that lay the golden eggs so long as the geese live long enough to produce big bucks for the union bosses and big, unsustainable pensions for the union membership. And yes, I know I just mixed a whole lot of metaphors.

Next we have the Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill. Reid floated that gem around, and got pushback even in his own party. Think of it this way. Progressives (mostly Democrats) think everyone should in some way, shape or form work for the government. Big labor bosses think everyone should work for unions. It's the perfect blend--everyone ends up working for government unions. What's not to like? Plenty, if the reaction in Congress was any indication. So Reid, being the sneak-thief he is, attempted to attach it to war funding legislation. The Republicans, and no small number of blue dog Democrats caught the maneuver early. So the police and firefighter unions will have to wait for complete control of all police and firefighters nationwide while Reid and the statists go back to the drawing boards.

Finally, there's that wonderful Disclose Act (here). That bill never even made it to the "sneak it past everyone" stage. Reid couldn't garner enough Democrats who could call the act "fair" with a straight face. It was so heavily union-oriented and anti-business that the blue dogs again said "Harry, give us a break." He just wasn't able to convince conscious (as opposed to conscientious) legislators that union political ads should have one-line disclaimers while corporate and business political ads would be required to list every person who ever agreed with the message, everyone who worked for the company and their family members and major pets. Unions would spend three seconds in a one-minute commercial naming themselves as the sponsors of the political message. Businesses would spend fifty-five and a half seconds of a one minute ad just listing the sponsors. Even Obama's outright lies about the Citizens United case couldn't pull this turd out of the punch bowl.

But don't get too comfortable. The big unions are spending big bucks to get these bills passed, and their puppet President Obama has been out pressing the flesh and grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary at AFL-CIO and SEIU gatherings. So far, we don't have any reports of union thugs with baseball bats trying to get the blue dogs in line, but there's plenty of time until Labor Day. The bills may be sleeping right now, but we all know that the unions never sleep.


Joel Farnham said...


If too many bills get passed like those, it would take a revolution to break them.

I remember during the eighties that regular union people started getting tired of their unions. I even heard that a few companies had their workers vote to remove the unions from a site. I don't remember any specifics, I just remember thinking it was odd that union people voted to get rid of their own union.

LL said...

Labor unions are not inherently bad. Usually the worse the management, the stronger the union.

However, the Age of obama, and the rise of government unions while private sector union membership declines is disturbing.

Card Check and the rest of the union building measures, which are precisely as you suggest they are, creates a mafia style (Chicago Thug) operation that has an unwholesome symbiotic relationship with the Democratic Party.

Unknown said...

Joel: They're pretty radical, but on the other hand, so is most of what the Obama administration has done. I'm not above a little watering of the tree of liberty, but I think we'll probably just have to settle for legislating much of the nonsense back out of existence.

You're talking about de-certification. It has happened more often than the public knows because the MSM will never tell a story of free people deciding that they don't choose any longer to be part of a collective. The most amazing place it happened was here in California. Everyone has read the lengthy and overblown stories of the farm workers' struggle to unionize.

Cesar Chavez became a national hero. Well, Chavez was a crypto-communist thug, and his union was among the most violent. The brave struggle the MSM kept on the back pages or ignored completely is that after years of union oppression, many locals of the United Farm Workers de-certified the union.

I'll bet that as well-informed as our readers are, there aren't more than two or three of them who even know that the United Farm Workers have been kicked out of no less than five major farming areas by their own membership.

AndrewPrice said...

This administration and Congress have been owned by the unions. It's been nothing but political payoffs from day one -- GM, sops to the state/county/municipal unions, etc. I'm glad somethings got stopped, but that's the only victory. Other than that, they've plundered the treasury with impunity and left us poor. I honestly think that the Republicans need to stop seeing unions as anything other than a Democratic Party organization and need to start acting accordingly.

Unknown said...

LL: Industrial unions at the turn of the last century were a logical and necessary response to exploitive companies. At best, I can describe them as necessary evils. Over the course of a century, legislation and local regulation have filled in the gaps that the unions served, and in so many cases, the unions became superfluous at best.

Today, most unions serve to skew the market, reduce business growth, pad the bank accounts of the bosses and force companies to pay ridiculously high wages for very little performance. Why civil service employees need or should be allowed to have unions is entirely beyond me. The quality of public school education has slid downhill in direct proportion to the increase in teachers union membership. The American automotive sector has been crippled and nearly destroyed by unions. The SEIU serves the purpose of getting high wages for menial jobs performed in large part by illegal immigrants, and all of it to raise funds for the left wing of the Democratic Party so that the union can perpetuate government control of business and the government can perpetuate union membership. It's the unhealthiest symbiotic relationship in American political history.

The three bills I discussed are simply another step in forcing unwilling individuals into unions they don't want. I may have nothing but contempt for the vast majority of unions, but these bills are not about an esoteric discussion of the necessity or lack of necessity of unionization. They are about getting all American workers into unions, whether they want to join or not.

Unknown said...

Andrew: The Democratic Party has always been a shill for big labor, but this administration has taken quantum leaps in blurring any remaining distinction between the Democratic Party and the big unions.

You are absolutely right. The Republicans have to recognize that big labor today is nothing more than the enforcement wing of the Democratic Party.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

It may very well take a revolution to get rid of this presidency. When people look at him and see him on the Great Wall of China representing socialism and barriers between people what do they see? Remember Regan told the communisits to tear down the wall whereas Obama wishes to put more up between the rich and poor while destroying the middle class and not putting up walls where we need them such as the Mexican border. Do not worry however because Arkansas is not on the border with Mexico.

Unknown said...

ACG: I strongly suspect that there will be a revolution of sorts in November. Bloodless, I hope, absent the SEIU baseball bats. That old girl, the Constitution, still has plenty of life in her even though the Democrats have been beating her up for four years or more. I also get the impression the Democrats don't see that their massive overreaching is about to have exactly the opposite affect from what they planned.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

Lawhawk - We are at war with Eurasia, Eastasis is our ally. They have always been our ally. We are at war with Eurasia - and we are winning.


Unknown said...

ACG: Amen, Big Brother.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Unions did serve a purpose at one time, at least in the industrial area. But today, even those that were once a force against social darwinism are just enablers of socialism and wealth creation for the union bosses only. The United Mine Workers are a powerful union, yet what have they done in 75 years to avoid mining disasters in West Virginia? The United Auto Workers have made Japan and Germany the world leaders in automobile production. The teachers unions have dumbed America down while paying illiterate teachers to teach subjects that they don't themselves understand. Government employees get jobs for life through civil service and protected incompetence for life from the unions. Phooey.

Unknown said...

Lawhawk. Except for the rare occasion when a bad supervisor tries to cover his tracks by pointing the finger at a street cop or firefighter, I don't know any police officer or fireman who has anything good to say about unions. And believe me, I know plenty of cops and firefighters.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: I agree. If I saw anything that indicated that unions were genuinely improving the lot of working people and calling out-of-control corporations to account, I might have a bit more sympathy. But all I see is rich union bosses, wages, benefits and working conditions that cripple businesses' ability to function optimally, and perpetuation of employees who couldn't hold a job for a week if they had to hold on by virtue of their job performance. The United Mine Workers is a perfect example of the purpose of the union being forgotten over half a century ago. They haven't protected their members from mine disasters (the mine owners are not blameless either, lest anyone think I believe they are).

Unknown said...

CalFed: I've had the same experience. I represented many police officers and firefighters over the years, and many of those cases involved guys who got nothing but token support from the union they paid massive dues to. The union lawyers were good at fighting against reasonable job requirements that would protect the integrity of the job (remember the New Jersey Firefighters?), but when it came to protecting individual cops and firemen who were doing their jobs, they seemed to be struck dumb. Union lawyers spend more time coming up with these Harry Reid-type schemes to unionize everyone than they do actually lawyering for the members who pay their salaries.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Back to the issue of unions wanting to make sure they go into any fight with the other side bound and gagged. You and ArmChairGeneral both touched on this, but I think it's important to point out how the Democrats are absolute geniuses at giving names to their proposals that distort what they stand for and hide the real purpose behind the legislation entirely.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: It is very Orwellian. "The Employee Free Choice Act" Yep, you're free to choose to sign the card or have your arm broken or your house burned down. "Disclose" A full list of contributors and sponsors for thee, but not for me. "The Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill." That one's a little more subtle, since it uses the names of two sectors of society that most people respect and admire.

The trick is that it's really the Police and Firefighter Union Boss Bargaining Bill. More police and firefighters are non-union than are union in this country, and that's just intolerable for the union bosses.

The bill doesn't establish unions, it simply guarantees that any group of public servants in the protective services must bargain with the public authorities as a formal group, or not at all. That means "unions only" can do the bargaining. The bigger the union, the more it can browbeat (or just plain beat) the competing bargaining group into submission.

The argument from the Democrats is that this will protect the members from internal and jurisdictional disputes. The truth, however, is contained in the title--"Monopoly."

StanH said...

Unions are useless, other than to enrich the union bosses.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Here's an interesting sidelight to this mess. In Kansas, Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt learned his lesson the hard way. He was a strong advocate of the Police and Firefighter Monopoly Act, perhaps not realizing what it actually entailed. But whether it was intentional support for forced unionization or a misunderstanding of what the bill is all about, he lost his bid for reelection in the Republican primary to an opponent who did understand and spoke out against the bill.

Ditto for Rep. Zach Wamp in Tennessee who was running for the nomination for Governor.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: Both of those candidates were overly cooperative with the liberal policies of the Democrats, but I think you're correct that the Monopoly Act was the deciding factor.

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