Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Intellectually Dishonest Piffle

George Will has a column out today bashing unions. This piece also reveals that the stick up his butt has reached the area of his brain affecting intellectual integrity. How he still has a job after the incident from the 1980 Presidential debates still mystifies me. Today, Will writes:

Unions were demonstrating in support of legislation with the Orwellian title Employee Free Choice Act. It would deny employees the choice of a secret ballot when voting on unionization of their workplace. Instead, union organizers would use the "card check" system, which allows them to pick the voters they want: Once a majority of workers -- exposed one at a time to face-to-face pressure from union organizers -- sign a union card, the union is automatically certified as the bargaining agent for all the workers.

The Supreme Court has said that the card-check system is "admittedly inferior to the election process." Hillary Clinton, who has given herself a makeover as a moderate, and who was elected by secret ballots, and who hopes that next year voters will use their secret ballots to give to her the power to nominate Supreme Court justices, nevertheless toes labor's line when she advocates abolishing workers' right to a secret ballot. Abolition, she says, will "create a fair and level playing field between workers and employers."

Here is the real deal. Right now, as evidenced by the dwindling membership in unions, management has the upper hand when it comes to unions being formed. Let's think of a made up company. We can call it "Gal-Mart" and it's employees are trying to form a union. Under the present circumstances, Gal-Mart can simply fire the workers who are the most dedicated union advocates. They can isolate individual workers and brow beat them against joining the union. They can threaten to close to fire everybody and shut the store. If that doesn't work, they can import "new workers" to the store, right before an election is being held who have a "patriotic" love for voting. They all vote the way of the company, but it's surely a coincidence.

These are genuine concerns about fairness. George Will aignores the advantages management has over working people because he doesn't give a shit about workers to be blunt and uncivil.

Ezra Klein suggests a compromise that addresses any genuine concerns companies might have about the scope of this legislation. Compare and contrast his approach to the hackery of George Will.

Mitch McConnell is very, very concerned about the Employee Free Choice Act's abrogation of the secret ballot. In this he joins such electoral process wonks as Mickey Kaus and the Chamber of Commerce, all of whom seem to forget their fealty to small-d democracy when elections (with their attendant suppression) come around, and rediscover it whenever the unions want card check.

But fine: Let's separate one from the other. I'll happily accept a sort of card check where a majority of cards trigger an instant secret election (no time for captive meetings, etc), where penalties for employers firing unionizing workers are severe (maybe $100,000 for smaller companies and a $1 million for larger corporations?), where captive meetings are outlawed and threats are actionable. There are many ways to clamp down on employer intimidation. The test for someone like McConnell -- or Kaus, or the others -- is whether they support any of them, or have just alit on some brand new affection for the secret vote in order to kill a pro-union measure they loathe.

George Will thinks workers should get paid in belly button lint (he opposes the minimum wage too) but doesn't have the courage to flat out say it. He lies about why a reform is being suggested, does not address the concerns of the other side.

Since Senator Paul Simon died, my theory that you should never trust a public figure who wears bow ties has been a rule of thumb that you can trust, unlike Mr. Will.