Monday, June 22, 2009

The Ironic Problem with Employee (Not-So) Free Choice Act

The Seattle Times has posted two Letters to the Editor that, in an interesting twist of irony, expose the fallacy of the offensively-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). While both letters were in response to a June 18th Seattle Times editorial entitled "Strike won't fly at Boeing if machinists want to keep 787 production here," the responses posted explain one of the main problems with EFCA.

In the first letter, a Seattle resident named Rob Snyder argues that the right to strike is his right:
I will give up my right to strike when corporate executives tie my total compensation to theirs.

In the second letter, another Seattle resident named Tanya Stock uses the editorial to opine that workers need EFCA, clearly (and ignorantly) missing the point that Boeing workers are already unionized and EFCA would have no impact on them--nor does it have any bearing to the topic of the original editorial.
  • NOTE: It would appear that Ms. Stock is part of the eco-friendly union coalition and gets her talking points directly from the AFL-CIO, SEIU, or one of the other union front groups, since there is not one original statement coming from her "letter."
The ironic part about posting both letters to the editor is that, besides the controversial card-check (aka the no-vote unionization) provision of EFCA, there is a lesser known provision to the bill called binding arbitration.

Bnding arbitration is the process where, after a mere 120 days following the start of negotiations between an employer and union, if there is no agreement reached, the federal government can step in and have a government-imposed arbitrator dictate what the union contract will be.

Now, besides the inherent problems with the freedom to contract (or not) argument, as well as the overall fascist nature of the government-imposing terms and conditions of employment, a lesser realized side effect of binding arbitration will be that workers themselves will be losing some basic human rights as a result of the binding arbitration section of EFCA.

First, under the binding arbitration provision of EFCA, workers will NOT be able to vote for or against a government-imposed contract. Now, since the National Labor Relations Board recently stated that unions can lie to members about the contents of a proposed contract, the right to ratify a contract (or not) probably doesn't mean much anyway.

However, the second point where EFCA absolutely takes away a fundamental human right is the fact that, under a government-imposed contract, workers lose their right to strike.

This means that, if workers are unionized based on cards that were signed under false pretenses, then forced into a government-imposed contract that does not meet what the union organizer promised them in order to get their signatures, workers not only cannot vote to accept or reject the contract, they cannot strike either. Their only choice will be to work under terms they had no choice to accept (or deny), or quit their employment.

In other words, under EFCA, workers will be tricked and trapped.

Doesn't sound too much like "free choice" now does it?

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