Card Check

Via Digby, Thomas Frank has a good op/ed in the WSJ about card check.  This bit is kind of important:

During the campaign, you will recall, the debate over card check was supposed to be about principle, about democracy, about the sacredness of the secret ballot. However, as I pointed out a few months ago, union-certification elections often don’t meet the most basic democratic requirements. Supervisors routinely hold captive-audience meetings with workers in preparation for elections; management commonly threatens to close up shop if the union wins; antiunion employees are frequently rewarded and pro-union employees are sometimes fired.

So it may not surprise you to learn that democracy isn’t really the main concern of card-check’s opponents. It’s unions themselves. Changing the rules will make it easier to organize them.

And more unions, in turn, means higher wages, better benefits, more say for workers in business decisions, and all that other awful stuff. If Wal-Mart employees get a union, it’s a pretty fair bet they won’t have to work after they’ve punched out.

Card check is about power. Management has it, workers don’t, and business doesn’t want that to change. Consider the remarks made by Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott at an analyst meeting on Oct. 28, when he was asked about the possible coming of card check: “We like driving the car and we’re not going to give the steering wheel to anybody but us.”

The other key point is that EFCA, the card check legislation under consideration at the moment, does not remove secret ballot elections as a method to form unions.  It establishes card check as a second, easier option.  Oregon, for example, has both options – if card check is employed and there really is a lot of opposition, opponents can petition for an election anyway with less support than required for the card check method.

Frank is right.  This is about power.  But it can also be about democracy – good unions increase the amount of democracy in the workplace.

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