Friday, January 30, 2009

President Moves Closer to Organized Labor - We Need to Move Closer to Our Employees

Below are some remarks made today by President Obama at a signing ceremony for certain Labor Executive Orders . . .

“I also believe that we have to reverse many of the policies towards organized labor that we've seen these last eight years, policies with which I've sharply disagreed. I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem, to me it's part of the solution. (Applause.) We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement. We know that strong, vibrant, growing unions can exist side by side with strong, vibrant and growing businesses. This isn't a either/or proposition between the interests of workers and the interests of shareholders. That's the old argument. The new argument is that the American economy is not and has never been a zero-sum game. When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper. We can be competitive and lean and mean and still create a situation where workers are thriving in this country.

"So I'm going to be signing three executive orders designed to ensure that federal contracts serve taxpayers efficiently and effectively. One of these orders is going to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to reimburse federal contractors who spend money trying to influence the formation of unions. We will also require that federal contractors inform their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Federal labor laws encourage collective bargaining, and employees should know their rights to avoid disruption of federal contracts.”

This is unfortunate for American business and American employees and preliminary to the real goal of organized labor for the last 30 years -- to eliminate the secret ballot election which provides employees an opportunity to express an informed choice after hearing both sides, not just the side of organized labor. Under EFCA (the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," employers would have to recognize a union if that union was able to get 50% +1 of their employees to sign union cards. In many cases employers don't even know its happening until well more than 50% are signed up.

What is ironic is that organized labor, who wants their own bailout in the form of EFCA, won 61% of the secret ballot elections they petitioned for last year and for the last two years in a row the percentage of workers who are represented has gone up, not down.

I will be speaking on EFCA and how employers can retain their rights to express themselves and employees keep the right to a secret ballot in trainings I will be providing for individual employers and industry associations. I will begin this effort in February and it will extend at least the ultimate outcome on the EFCA legislation. If your company has an interest in how to avoid this damaging legislation and its effects, contact me at: 214-432-5701.


Blogger John Gallagher said...

Jim, I can track back to a correspondence we had prior to the election that this was my biggest concern of an Obama administration. I look forward to participating in some way on your training and communication on this issue. John

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, well, no surprises. The bedrock principle of politics for about the last twenty years is, as you have stated, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you make Paul happy. So find a bunch of Pauls who vote and beat up on Peters who don't vote, or, as in this case, who don't know that they are being screwed. Most politicians are for sale to the highest bidder, and the unions pay a lot to the Democrats. What a spectacle. When the union bosses say "frog", Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have to jump. I was hoping that Obama would rise above that pettyness, but I guess not. Another item no one mentions is that strikes have bec ome a one-way weapon. When the UAW strikes G.M., G.M's entire domestic business goes into the tank. But the UAW, which has the other auto companies, suppliers, and employers in many other industries, probably has at most 20% of its income at risk, and can always temporarily increase dues on the members who are working. Even worse, the UAW can pick individual plants and shut down most of G.M. or Ford by striking at one or two plants over "local issues". Also, the union bosses never loose. It is the employees on strike who pay the price. The auto industry needs to go to industry wide bargaining or the UAW will eat their lunch. The other alternative is to move it all to China or Mexico or fill in blank. At a minimum, they should go Chapter 11 and wipe out all that stuff that is killing them. Taking a Federal hand-out and then having Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as de facto managers of the auto industry is the worst choice they coud have made. Pelosi wants them to build "green" cars. Let's see, that is about 2% of the market. A magician couldn't save these companies with those restrictions.

5:37 PM  

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