A few weeks ago I was alarmed that our local (Traverse City Area) chamber held an event in which they were going to teach small business owners how to “deal with” the changes in law the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and how to move forward. The problem I had at the time, was not that they were providing this service, but rather how in the hell they had not stepped up to the plate to alert business owners and producers that this was a very real possibility; one that should be fought.
I am pleased today to present to you a well reasoned response by the national chamber and that it has been brought to my attention by our chamber. Please feel free to pull what you can from the following letter to congress and go that step further by writing and calling congress and DEMAND they do not even consider this Job & Business Killing bill. (My commentary following.)
TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
We are writing to express our strong opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA; S. 560, H.R. 1409). As businesses of every size and industry with substantial operations in all 50 states, we collectively employ millions of American workers.
EFCA has three provisions, each of which we oppose. The first provision would require union recognition based on authorization cards signed by a majority of employees. This provision would allow organizing to be conducted in secret, would effectively eliminate the secret ballot election, and would hinder or even eliminate an employer’s ability to tell its side of the story and correct misleading union rhetoric. Card check recognition also would effectively disenfranchise employees who oppose unionization and, as courts have repeatedly recognized, is inherently less reliable than traditional election processes for determining whether employees wish to have union representation.
The second provision would enable a union seeking a first contract to require the employer to enter into binding interest arbitration if a collective bargaining agreement were not reached within as little as 130 days. The government-appointed arbitrator would be able to set all terms of a union contract, not limited to wages and benefits, but also including management rights clauses, work rules, use of technology, and other critically important provisions. Compulsory interest arbitration is the antithesis of free collective bargaining and would put an arbitration panel in the position of judging which tradeoffs are in the best interests of the employer, union, and employees. No government-appointed arbitrator should have the power to impose a contract that could radically alter an employer’s business model and potentially destroy its competitive advantage and ability to compete in these difficult economic times. This provision would completely overturn the longstanding principle that the parties are obligated to bargain in good faith, but are not compelled to agree to terms they believe will put them in jeopardy. Employers and employees will lose any opportunity to shape the contract if this provision is enacted.
The third provision would significantly increase penalties on employers for certain violations of labor laws. There are significant problems raised by these provisions, including the lack of due process in the mandatory reinstatement provisions and the conversion of the NLRA from a remedial statute to a punitive one. Most telling is the fact that the new penalties are imposed for employer violations and not union violations demonstrates the lack of balance in this ill-conceived bill. It is hard to see how coercion by labor organizations should be favored over coercion by employers.
For these reasons we urge you to oppose EFCA as well as any procedural votes, such as a cloture motion in the Senate, that would lead to its passage.
First off, if you don’t want union representation, you might well get it shoved down your throat. Further, your vote is out in the open so you become a target by the thugs who promote these things (no soft words needed here.. I call it as I see it – Union organizing is done by thuggery) The other thing is if you are a business owner.. you wake up one morning and SURPRISE your business is a UNION SHOP!
The second part describes what this administration is truly about; A government TAKEOVER of business. It could not be called anything else. A Government LAW provides a GOVERNMENT Appointed Arbitrator to negotiate the terms and conditions between you and your employees. IT allows them to hav a say in how you will apply technology in the day to day operating of your business. SWEET HUH?
Strike Three… Criminality. Though there can be an argument about the substantial differences that exist between Civil penalties and criminal, it is merely a reflection of record. The penalties can often be quite similar, and if you have ever faced a “contempt” ruling, you might immediately understand. When penalties become confiscatory, how long will a business stand if you choose to pay them? IF you do NOT pay them, how long are you prepared to pay with the loss of your freedom? Some employees will KNOW THIS and will brandish as a mallet upside your head if you fail to provide what they “want,” or if you even attempt to summarily deal with them for on the job issues. It quite literally gives the EMPLOYEES an EQUAL stake in the management decisions of the business, whether you like it or not.
And if there are workers who think this is a GOOD thing, let me tell you this.. IF THIS PASSES, I have a couple of folks whom I care deeply for that work for me, but will find themselves without work as I return to my one man operation. I will refuse to be told how to manage my employee relations, and if law insists I do? Then I must withdraw any opportunities for the law to apply to my business.