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Monday Late Nite – Fear of a Unionized Planet

Unions! Oh, NOOOOES!!!

Oh, dear. It’s not a very happy time for the sanctimonious, hypocritical Right. Their presumptive nominee for President looks and sounds more like cottage cheese in a lime green jello mold, and has the charisma of a nematode suffering from ennui. (Just don’t make him angry: He’ll call you all sorts of expletives when he’s angry.) Even the corporate-owned pundits are clutching their pearls at the thought of a Democratic sweep in November.

And now this. Pro-employee legislation is back on the table, and supported by very powerful unions, including the SEIU. The Employee Free Choice Act is legislation intended to, inter alia, end the practice of retaliation against employees who try to form unions in their places of work.

The Employee Free Choice Act is a simple law that does 3 profound things:

  • It says a majority of workers can decide to have a union
  • Imposes big penalties on employers who violate worker rights, and
  • Gives newly-unionized workers guaranteed first contract through binding arbitration

No government interference. No corporate intimidation. No ridiculous rules and roadblocks set up to block your rights.

ZOMG! Employees exercising their rights! Employees demanding a fair shake in the workplace! Who will go to bat to protect the hapless corporate CEOs with their "450% times greater than the average worker" salaries? What will happen to all those American jobs outsourced overseas? The sky, it FALLS!

Needless to say, "Everyman" John McCain is no fan of the legislation and voted against its cloture in 2007. In fact, on one of the four days that he actually showed up to work in D.C., he sponsored the Republican opposition bill, the Secret Ballot Protection Act, which proposed to eliminate card checks, and voted for the "National Right-to-Work for Less" law that would attempt to eliminate unions altogether.

Why is the Right shitting its collective pants? Because according to Anna Burger, SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer, The Employee Free Choice Act could translate to an increase from 100,000 to 1 million workers joining unions per year. Corporations who have been leaning back and enjoying the Invisible Handjob of the Marketplace for at least the past eight years would actually have to now pay for the pleasure. Note the frantic, patronizing spin from the rightwing website, The Next Right:

More union members means more union dues spent on politics. It is clear that the unions get this incremental approach.
. . .
This is permanent majority language. However, when we were talking about permanent majority, we were talking about moving assets into the hands of more Americans. (this is the ownership society that Barack Obama belittles) This vision is about coercively moving more and more Americans into political organizations which use their precious financial resources in a way that they neither control nor even understand.

So it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about a "permanent majority" when it applies to the Republicans gutting the American economy and drowning our government in a bathtub. I’ll make a note of the double standard, dude.

Keep an eye on this legislation — we may actually become a country that values the worker over wealth again.

[h/t to Flory at WhiskeyFire for the Next Right link]

I wanted to correct a mistake in my post from last Wednesday:

In my post, I stated that the "Reform SEIU" website was affiliated with the UHW-West local. It is not. It is run by an indepenent caucus of rank-and-file members whose concers overlap with the UHW-W’s.

In an email correspondence I had with Paul Kumar, political director of the UHW West, he wanted to clarify that the UHW West’s contention is that "under the guise of consolidating decision-making to generate more power, what [the SEIU’]s changes will often do in practice is to allow top officials to cut deals that they could not easily get workers to accept if they were fully informed and involved in the process. These are fundamental problems for who we are as a union, not parochial problems for our local."

I apologize for any confusion this may have caused readers. I blame William Kristol.

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