Diary

Specter and Lincoln Playing "Hide the Ball" on Card Check

The Wall Street Journal notes today that the Unions’ anti-Democratic and pro-thugocratic attempts to eliminate the secret ballot from union elections are all but dead.

Politicians don’t typically broadcast their defeat, and when they do it pays to watch for the blindside hit. That’s surely the case with last week’s reports that six liberal Senators are abandoning part of labor’s top priority, “card check” legislation.

The legislation to eliminate secret ballots in union elections has in fact been comatose for weeks, since Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas declared their opposition.

The temptation for conservatives here is to rejoice at the untimely demise of a truly horrible provision which would have made it much easier for organized crime unions to engage in blatant arm-twisting.  However, as we have noted here on RedState before, only the most rabid and delusional pro-union forces ever believed that this provision would survive intact in whatever version of Card Check was passed.  Instead, the elimination of the secret ballot is and has always been a red herring, a fig leaf designed to give fence-sitters like Specter and Lincoln cover to vote for a “compromise” version of Card Check that still will hand wholesale control of many sectors over to corrupt union management, and more inexcusably permit even more meddling in the affairs of private business by the Obama Administration.

More below the fold…

The WSJ notes some of the more onerous provisions that would presumably remain in the bill when it is resurrected after the current Obamacare fight:

So the real purpose of this “concession” is to shift to Plan B, which is to repackage most of what labor wants with new ribbons and wrapping. The bill that Senators Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Mr. Specter and others are now considering would still give unions the whip hand in negotiations with management.

One proposal would slash the time for an organizing vote, requiring that it be held within five or 10 days after 30% of workers had signed cards asking for a union. The median time today is 38 days. Organizers want the rush because they know the more time workers have to learn about a union, the less they usually want one. Once employees hear the other side of the story, support dwindles.

This also explains a Big Labor demand to bar companies from requiring their workers to hear management’s side during a union campaign. Labor supporters say this creates a “captive audience,” but these meetings are one of management’s few opportunities to address workers, since companies are barred from the sort of outreach allowed to union organizers — such as visiting employees at home. At the same time, Senators want to give union organizers access to company property.

The most onerous and potentially damaging provision of the entire Card Check bill, however, is not and has never been the end of the secret ballot; it is instead the binding arbitration provision of the bill.  Under Card Check’s binding arbitration provision, if the workers elect to form a union, and the union and management cannot agree to a deal within 90 days, a federal abritrator (read, Obama appointee) is permitted to summarily impose a contract upon both union and the management.  And if the employees don’t like the contract the abitrator imposes? Tough, they don’t even get a vote on whether to accept it.  As the WSJ notes, if Card Check passes with binding arbitration intact, union managers will be incentivized to make unreasonable demands, not budge on them for 90 days, and then just let the Obama administration dictate the terms of the contract, on the theory that the Obama administration will give them a better deal than management anyhow.  This proposal would involve the Executive Branch in the workings of private enterprise on a breathtaking scale; eclipsing by far the government’s current involvement in auto manufacturing and finance.  And if you think the system I have described above is not begging to be systematically corrupted, I have some property for sale in Arizona I’d like to interest you in.

Right now, the fight is on Healthcare, and probably after that, Cap and Trade.  But sooner or later, the Democrats and the organized crime lords unions they are beholden to are going to bring Card Check back up.  And this time they will package it as a “compromise” and trumpet the fact that they have saved the secret ballot.  Don’t be fooled; the worst parts of Card Check will still be around, and we will still need to fight it with everything we have.