Senate Democrats on Friday floated a huge trial balloon announcing a possible compromise deal on the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Better known as “card check,” the compromise that was floated would drop the provision that would ban secret ballots for workers when deciding whether or not to unionize their workplace. The bill still contains one of the most damaging elements: mandatory binding arbitration.
Mark McKinnon, a former Bush and McCain strategist and spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute, spoke with HUMAN EVENTS on Friday about this latest in the ongoing saga of unions attempting to cash in on the half-billion dollars they spent last year electing Democrats to Congress and the White House.
“The most onerous provision of the legislation is the binding arbitration,” McKinnon said. “This is an absolute nightmare for American business which is already strapped to its capacity. … This would be hard to imagine under normal circumstances, but it is impossible to imagine under the current economic climate. This provision really translates into a nationalization of American business. It’s a hostile takeover.”
A pattern will then emerge. Unions win organization elections fairly or by “card checks” and then refuse to negotiate reasonable contracts. Then the government arbitrators come in and impose a contract that benefits the union. Businesses go bust, unions claim victories and soon every American business will be looking for a GM-style bailout.
“Under the legislation, business and labor would have 120 days to negotiate a contract once a union is recognized,” McKinnon said. “Under these circumstances there is no incentive for labor to negotiate at all. They know if they just sit on their hands and negotiations break down, rather than having to negotiate with an employer, they get a federal bureaucrat from a Democratic administration, perhaps, who knows nothing about the business and mandates all the workplace rules including salaries, benefits and vacations. Certainly labor’s going to think that’s a better deal than what they’d get from employers.”
And that would be the starting, baseline contract, and workers would be cut out of the contract approval process.
“Under a binding arbitration provision, employees would not even be able to vote on their own contracts,” McKinnon said. “So they’d be working under conditions over which they have no control and no say.”
No say over their own hours, workplace conditions, benefits, vacations, nothing. It would all be left in the hands of a federal bureaucrat.
The proposed compromise would also replace the secret ballot ban with a truncated unionization vote period.
“It’s just one more provision that gives labor an unfair advantage in negotiations because they can organize quietly for a year or more, educating workers about unionizing from their perspective then suddenly they spring it on an employer,” McKinnon said. “And an employer only has five or ten days to educate workers from their perspective. It’s unbalanced and it’s unfair to the employers. Labor is trying to wring out every advantage it can from this administration.”
Currently there is about a 60-day window for unionization campaigns.
It’s not yet clear whether this trial balloon will float with more center-left Democrats in the Senate.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest and more extremist union organizations closely linked with ACORN, has already come out in opposition to dropping the secret ballot ban, demanding an up or down vote on the intact card check legislation.
Freshman Democrats Oppose Pelosi’s Healthcare Fiasco
In addition to the health care revolt from Blue Dog Democrats, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) released a letter circulated to his freshman Democrat colleagues asking them to sign on to efforts opposing their leadership’s plans to significantly raise taxes on small business. The surtax would pay for only a small part of Democrats’ proposed leviathan government takeover of healthcare.
The letter says, in part:
“While the Ways and Means Committee states that the proposed surcharge in HR 3200 will only impact 4.1 percent of small business, we are concerned that this does not paint a complete picture. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s 2002 statistics of income, 64 percent of households filing individual tax forms with AGI above $250,000 filed and S-Corporation or partnership or Schedule C sole proprietor tax form. Further, of all small businesses, 75 percent are S-Corporations where the business income is passed through to the business owners’ individual tax return, increasing the chances that it will be impacted by the proposed surcharge.”
The letter (pdf) garnered 22 signatures.
Let Freedom Ring ‘Pledge’ Gains Support
Lawmakers are beginning to take notice of the Let Freedom Ring group’s “Responsible Healthcare Reform Pledge” initiative. As of deadline, 62 members of Congress had signed on.
The pledge reads, “I [NAME], pledge to my constituents and to the American people that I will not vote for any healthcare reform package that: 1) I have not read, personally, in its entirety, and; 2) Has not been available, in its entirety, to the American people on the Internet for at least 72 hours, so that they can read it, too.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) signed on Friday and issued a release stating, “Gohmert encouraged the ‘Tea Party Patriots’ to continue fighting, writing, and calling until Washington gets the message that Americans are fed up with the ‘nation-ending, liberty-usurping, and economically-bankrupting policies’ being pushed by the Obama administration and liberal leaders in Congress.”
The full list of signers to date will be posted on Let Freedom Ring website today.