Monday, February 19, 2007

Card check

Matt Yglesias discusses the new card check legislation Congress is trying to pass. Basically, what card check is for those who don't know, is a change in unionization rules. Currently, in order to unionize, a workforce has to sign cards saying they want to organize. Once 30% of workers sign these cards, an election is held, by secret ballot. If a majority wants to unionize, then it's done. To reverse the process and deorganize, workers do the same thing in reverse.

One would wonder what the problem is with this process. It seems pretty fair and straightforward. Well, the problem, at least for those who want to see more unions, is that in recent years it has resulted in fewer workers being in unions.

So here's what the new law would do: it would simply allow the creation of a union if a majority of workers sign the cards.

Now why is this a bad thing? Because it gets rid of the secret ballot. Workers can be intimidated by labor bosses to sign. Also, workers can't decertify the union by the reverse method.

One theme you'll see a lot of on this blog if I ever get around to posting frequently is fairness. I believe that as much as it is possible to do so, our system of government should be fair. My own definition of fair is that we all abide by the same rules. That we use as consistent a philosophy as possible. And that we don't change the rules just because we're seeing a result we don't like, unless the vast majority of parties affected by those rules agree there needs to be a change.

In this case, we have a situation where the rules in place are eminently fair. Democrats want to replace it with a system that doesn't pass the fairness test in any respect. It changes a system that isn't broken to the detriment of both business and workers who don't want to organize. It is also philosophically inconsistent with the Democratic ideal of secret ballots in elections.

This is nothing more than a baldfaced power grab by organized labor in an effort to reverse their increasing irrelevancy in the modern economy. If organized labor wants to win more elections in workplaces, they might consider changing their approach. Labor should be concentrating on using their bargaining power to raise wages and benefits and improve working conditions. Not on stupid work rules and insistence on seniority over merit in terms of promotions and pay raises. The reason there are fewer unions is simply that fewer workers want to be in unions.

President Bush should veto card check if it passes. It is horrible legislation that endangers the liberties of the majority of workers who do not want to unionize. According to the AFL-CIO's own polls, most workers do not want a union.

For those who do, it's called an election and a secret ballot.