The progressive group I Am Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, is gearing up for a major push on the Employee Free Choice Act, and is organizing a petition drive. On its website, it promotes research showing higher hourly wages and better benefits for union employees. What it doesn’t show is how unions cripple business with their demands, as evidenced by the problems with the domestic auto industry. The push by progressive groups comes on top of a campaign by big labor for this anti-democratic piece of legislation, which would deny workers a secret ballot election on unionization, thus allowing unions to swell their ranks through intimidation. During normal times, this would be a recipe for disaster, but to bog down workplaces and make it more difficult for businesses to function during a severe economic crisis is utterly insane.
To be clear, when I use the word “intimidation” I don’t mean that it has to take the form of some hulking cartoon character meeting workers in the back alley with a baseball bat, but more subtle forms of peer pressure. I was forced to join an AFL-CIO affiliated union when I was a financial reporter at Reuters because it was a union shop, and during contract negotiations I was constantly hounded by union reps to go along with their juvenile tactics, like wearing a red union t-shirt in the office, or participating in mini walk outs in the form of mass 15-minute coffee breaks. If you didn’t go along, you’d start getting messages from union-friendly co-workers, or sometimes while you were working, union shop stewards would come by your desk and start lecturing you on the need for solidarity. I happened to be too stubborn to ever partake in their silliness, but eventually, most everybody else in the office went along just so they’d stop being bothered by union reps and co-workers. If unions’ only obstacle to organizing is getting 50 percent of workers, plus one, to sign a card, then such workplace harassment will become common. It will likely get much worse, because the stakes will be higher. Anybody who doesn’t recognize that either has a vested interest in this legislation, is being intellectually dishonest, or has never been a member of a union.
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