Since the vast majority of Americans consider private voting a fundamental right, the idea of eliminating secret ballots in union elections is understandably opposed across the ideological spectrum. So is government involvement in businesses, such as forcing binding arbitration on small businesses and dictating terms of employment without a vote.
That is why, across the ideological spectrum — from Republicans like Senator Orrin Hatch, to business leaders like Warren Buffet and Jack Welch, to liberal icons such as George McGovern and Al Sharpton — all oppose the incredibly controversial and unpopular bill, misnamed the Employee “Free” Choice Act (EFCA). Almost every editorial board across the country has editorialized against the bill.
So how does one explain the constant efforts on the part of some leaders in Congress to push what is better known as the Employee “Forced” Choice Act?
Well, “follow the money” as the old adage says.
A new report released by the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) demonstrates how enactment of EFCA would generate a significant increase in labor union spending on political activity and presumably, a new flow of political contributions to the supporters of union bosses and their agenda.
This is plain and simple, a payoff to Big Labor bosses. Unions spent approximately $400 million in last year’s elections. Now, like so many other political players representing a special interest, they are asking for a bailout and government assistance in generating a major wealth transfer from American employers to the coffers of union executives.
According to the report, passage of EFCA could add at least $1.7 billion (in 2009 dollars) in additional political spending by labor unions over a 10-year period. This amount is based on a union projection of increases in total membership and the resulting union dues generated from that increase with a small percentage going to political activity.
Union bosses have said that EFCA would generate millions of new members. The head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) estimated an additional 1.5 million new dues-paying union members every year for at least 10 years if EFCA is passed.
A recent estimate of the average union dues among the top 15 unions by Labor Notes suggests that as of 2004, dues amounted to $377 in 2004, or about $425 in today’s dollars. According to the United Auto Workers (UAW), dues for a typical autoworker were $552 as of 2000, or about $682 in today’s dollars. Using membership growth of 1.5 million per year and the lower average dues estimate ($425), enactment of EFCA would increase union receipts by $637,500,000 per year.
In addition to this increase in political spending, if the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act was enacted, union bosses would have access to an additional $35 billion over the next 10 years for any range of activities.
And who pays the price? Workers do.
It is entirely possible that workers could end up in a union they didn’t get to vote on, abiding by a contract that they didn’t get to vote on. And in that contract would be union dues the worker would be obligated to pay, and with those funds, union bosses would engage in political activities, whether the employee agrees with it or not.
So, now we know what the Big Labor bosses expect for their $400 million investment in the 2008 elections – $35 billion in return. Not a bad return on investment and certainly not something the average citizen would ever see.
Simply stated, the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act is legislation that should never become law. This report by WFI provides an eye-opening view of what our future holds if we allow Congress to place the interests of their own political benefactors – the union bosses – above the rights and freedoms of the everyday, hardworking American small businesses and their workers.