By Gina Loudon
The headline in Politico reads: “Labor’s big comeback: Obama appointees push for worker rights.” I have several problems with this headline, starting with the suggestion that Big Labor “achieved” anything as the term “comeback” suggests.
There is a far bigger problem with this headline. A series of presidential giveaways to union bosses is neither a “comeback” for unions nor is it in any way related to “worker rights.” In fact, the notion that gains for union bosses is the same as gains for workers is a big nasty lie, and it is high time for mainstream media outlets to quit perpetuating it. The truth is, most union shops are created not because disgruntled workers looked for help but because a union business agent made a sales call. To labor bosses, their puppets at the new NLRB, and Democrats like Obama, workers are not partners, but potential clients to feed their machine.
Why the push?
Labor unions are businesses. They have organizational charts with paid staff earning salaries and benefits packages. Many of the staffers are former members, many are not, but they need operating revenues just the same. These are usually derived from dues taken from workers’ paychecks by force. Pay up or be fired.
Unions promise workers better pay, better benefits, and typically less work, which they couch as “job security.” The problem they have is the same as the public pension and health-care crisis bankrupting cities as big as Detroit and threatening whole states.
These union-negotiated debacles are also what brought down the big three automakers. According to UnionFacts.org, the average pension funding level is just 34 percent – meaning they have to either dramatically raise dues or dramatically increase membership to cover the pension obligations for current and future retirees. The more new members they add, the greater their pension obligations grow.
Most are simply Ponzi schemes that are sanctioned by the government. The problem is so bad, that Congress is considering the unprecedented move of allowing current funds to reduce current retiree benefits.
Only 7.3 percent of unionized workers ever voted to bring in their union. They are stuck with unions that locked in control a long time ago. Once in control, unions good or bad, hold control the same way bad politicians hold onto office. Ninety percent of people in almost every poll think Congress is terrible, yet 90 percent of those incumbents sail easily to re-election.
The reason for the discrepancy is the tremendous power of incumbency. Incumbent unions are like incumbent politicians. They can pretty much do whatever they want because they have all the money, all of the machine, and they only need to win 50 percent plus one of those voting in any unit. What is miraculous is that any union ever loses.
In reality, in head-to-head votes, unions are decertified all the time. In fact, while claiming to fight for aggrieved workers, they only convince workers to support them about 60 percent of the time they ask. Surely the legitimately aggrieved would vote for help 100 percent of the time. Maybe the workers they pursue control over are not that aggrieved.
The reason unions do not lose even more contests in the democratic process is that where they hold power over politicians, they have many ways to tilt the system in favor of bad unions and against workers. The recent NLRB decisions and more pending rules are giveaways to unions to make it easier for them to gain control over worker units.
The Politico story discusses several of the new rulings handed down by the National Labor Relations Board. The author admits that Obama appointed three of the five members, and the general counsel, and that the board is doing more by rule than Obama has been able to do himself in six years as president. In other words, this quasi-executive agency is happy to make law by rule much like Obama is doing by executive order and executive memorandum. Let’s look at some of those rules and how they allegedly help workers.
The “ambush elections” rules are a series of inside baseball rulings relating to how elections establishing unions are conducted. They are technical, relating to things like the manner in which hearings are conducted to determining who gets to vote. All the rules are designed to tilt the process in favor of making it easier for organizers to win elections.
Democrats almost universally hold the Marxist view that every non-union job has a worker being exploited by an owner living unjustly off the surplus of that worker’s labor. To partisans like the NLRB board members, justice means making it easier for unions to unionize workers, even if those workers do not want to be unionized.
The main goals of the NLRB majority in writing the ambush election rules is to tilt the playing field in favor of unions against employers, and even against workers themselves. This is in direct conflict of the NLRB’s mission of protecting workers. The whole idea of union organizing assumes that disgruntled workers would seek union protection against abusive employers. That is a very Pollyannaish view.
More typically, often unwitting workers are approached by commissioned union organizers or business agents in competition with other unions to see who can stake ground first. The effects are often absurd. The Teamsters, named for drivers of teams of horses, are organizing any workers they can find, from retail workers to farm workers. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and United Farm Workers Unions be damned. New York City department stores might have scores of unions with which to negotiate as the Service Employee business agents lock in the shoe department and another union takes women’s lingerie.
With the new rules, business owners will have fewer options to argue over which workers should be affected in term of being in or out of a voting unit. The union will have time to lay groundwork and have votes counted. They might want all the workers in one plant, or just the workers in shipping and receiving in another. What if they make a side promise to the loading dock workers and have 100 percent of them in favor and that gets them the margin of enough votes to win the entire plant? The NLRB has given union organizers almost total control over how to define the bargaining unit.
In one workplace, an allied supervisor may mean that the union wants to include supervisors in the bargaining unit. In the next plant, supervisors below a certain level will be out.
While employers will certainly hate the new rules, the biggest victims will be workers who are happy with their jobs, happy working for advancement on their merits, but who find themselves dragged into unions against their will, workers like Mary Hill. Imagine the peer pressure of being the worker who fought the union or just refused to publicly favor it, but is now forced to join it and watch a smarmy coworker secure election as your new shop steward. The potential for “hostile work environments” is massive, but the union bosses have special friends at the NLRB, so don’t bother taking your grievance against the union to them.
If you are a worker fighting a union in California, you have even fewer rights. Sylvia Lopez, a farm worker in California, wanted to decertify the United Farm Workers union for the simple reason that the union was trying to collect dues even though it had provided no service for 20 years.
Lopez has worked for Gerawan for 15 years. Like most unionized workers, she never voted for the union. Worse, she has never received any services from the union that now claims to want to start helping. The union she neither voted for nor wants would have her fired if she refuses to pay them for their representation.
Lopez led the successful effort in which the majority of her 3,000 co-workers voted to decertify the lazy union. In a stunningly brazen move, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board refused to certify the election using a guise of election improprieties.
California Democrats who argue at every turn to make sure that “every vote is counted” find votes against unions are an exception. Citing United Farm Worker founder, Cesar Chavez, Lopez even solicited help from the Democrat-run Latino Caucus in Sacramento. She was flatly ignored.
Clearly, to the left, workers’ rights are to be protected only insofar as they align with the interests of labor. The hypocrisy is truly astonishing. Every worker is seen as potential new dues-paying client, fresh meat, to feed to voracious appetite of union boss hierarchies and insolvent benefit funds.
Equating gifts to powerful labor union organizers with gifts to workers is disingenuous at best, and dishonest at worst. This NLRB, just like most labor bosses, sees workers not as partners but as potential clients. The NLRB is pushing not for worker rights, but for union rights. There is a big distinction.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/12/workers-rights-and-the-big-labor-lie/#F11Tf0TSlfcjKIfW.99