Saturday, August 07, 2010

Brewer's wasteful special session against workers

As Arizona burns Brewer & GOP thugs fiddle with wasteful special session on a non-issue.

UPDATE, Tue. Aug 10: House Democrats ask Brewer to release security review to public. 11 days since prison break, still no action from Brewer.

From @RepPatterson on twitter: Rs opposed my amendment for secret ballots in all corporate votes. GOP hits workers, but protects open ballots CEOs & boards want.

UPDATE, Mon. Aug 9: House Democrats want special session to focus on better security at prisons. 3 murderers escape from private prison, kill two, but GOP focuses on anti-Ariz. worker bill.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- As Brewer and her reckless Republican posse force the legislature in to an expensive and worthless special session Monday to attack workers, here are some facts you should know.

Frequently Asked Questions About NLRB Union Elections (info from AFL-CIO)

What’s Wrong With NLRB “Secret Ballot” elections? Workers deserve a path to unionization that is fair, quick, and not dominated by corporations. The National Labor Relations Act states: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations….” The law was designed to protect employee choice on whether to form unions, but it has been turned upside down.

The current system is not like any democratic election held anywhere else in our society. Companies have turned the National Labor Relations Board election process into management controlled balloting—the company has all the power, controls what information workers can receive, and routinely poisons the process by intimidating, harassing, coercing and firing people who try to organize unions.

When workers try to form a union(1):
· 77% of companies interrogate workers in one-on-one meetings with their supervisors about support for the union;
· 89% of companies force employees to attend mandatory closed-door meetings against the union;
· 57% of companies illegally threaten to close the worksite if the union wins an election;
· 47% of companies illegally threaten to cut wages and benefits if the union wins an election; · 34% of companies illegally fire at least one worker for union activity.

The provisions of the NLRA also allow employers to drag out elections as they drive down union support through these tactics. On top of that, the NLRA’s penalties are so insignificant and so delayed that many companies treat them as just another cost of doing business. The NLRA process no longer protects a fair and free choice. Workers do not have an uncoerced choice to vote by secret ballot after being browbeaten by supervisor to oppose the union or being told that they may lose their jobs and livelihoods if they vote for the union.

Is Congress Trying to Take Away So-Called Secret Ballot Elections? No. Labor legislation currently stalled in Congress simply provides workers another option—majority sign-up. “Elections” may sound like a more democratic approach, but the current NLRB process is nothing like political elections. In NLRB elections as currently conducted, one side has all the power. The company controls the voters’ paychecks and livelihoods and has unlimited access during the workday to propagandize against the union, while restricting pro-union supporters and denying the union any access. Weak remedies encourage companies to intimidate and coerce the voters.

What Is Majority Sign-Up and How Does It Work? When a majority of workers signs cards authorizing the union to represent them and those authorization cards are validated by the federal government, the company can chose to recognize and bargain with the workers’ union. The “Save Our Secret Ballot” campaign wants to ban this fair and democratic alternative. The majority sign-up process has always been lawful and is well-established in the United States. In fact, for years, responsible employers, such as AT&T, Harley-Davidson and Kaiser Permanente, have voluntarily honored their employees’ right to use majority sign-up to choose union representation. These companies have found that majority sign-up is a fair and democratic way for workers to make their own decisions and that this process results in less hostility and polarization in the workplace than the current government procedures, with their built-in delays and opportunities for company intimidation and harassment.

Legislation currently stalled in Congress only changes the situation so that workers—not companies— make the choice of how to form their union. “Save Our Secret Ballot” is an attempt to ban this alternative method of forming a union.

Are Companies Required to Remain Neutral About the Union When Majority Sign-Up, Rather Than an NLRB Election, is Used? Absolutely not! Companies will still be free to express their opinion about the union.

Will Employees Be Pressured into Signing Union Authorization Cards During Majority Sign-Up? No. In fact, academic studies show that workers who organize under majority sign-up feel less pressured to support the union than workers who organize under the NLRB election process.(2) They also report far less pressure or coercion from management to oppose the union than workers who go through the current NLRB election process. In addition, it is illegal for anyone to coerce employees to sign a union authorization card.

Isn’t Resistance to S.O.S. Ballot Really About Unions Wanting to Increase Their Membership? Unions are fighting to give working people the freedom to improve their lives through collective bargaining. More than half of people who don’t have a union say they would join one tomorrow if given the chance. After all, people who have union contracts earn 28 percent more than people without them and are much more likely to have health care and pensions. With the economic pressures on working people today, the freedom to join together to bargain for a better life and achieve an economy that works for working people is crucially important. NLRB elections give all the advantages to corporate CEOs to resist and stall union organizing drives and deny workers the healthcare benefits, good wages and job security that union jobs bring.

1. Kate Bronfenbrenner, “No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing,” May 20, 2009. A study of Chicago-area NLRB representation elections by University of Illinois-Chicago professors Chirag Mehta and Nik Theodore reported similar findings. Mehta and Theodore found that workers were fired illegally during 30 percent of organizing campaigns, employers force workers to attend one-on-one, anti-union meetings with supervisors during 91 percent of NLRB representation election campaigns, and employers hire consultants or union-busters to help them fight 82 percent of union organizing drives. See Mehta and Theodore, “Undermining the Right to Organize: Employer Behavior During Union Representation Campaigns,” report for American Rights at Work, December 2005.

2. "Majority Authorizations and Union Organizing in the Public Sector: A Four-State Perspective." A Joint Research Project of: University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations; Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University; Extension Division, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University; University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center.

1 comment:

Joe Brock said...

Employees who sign cards will never get a choice in whether they get an election or not. If 50% plus one signs a card, there's no election, even if 100% of the employees want one.