12 Mar 2009 15:24 Filed in: Magical Bearded Gnome
Robert Reich, Magical Bearded Gnome and former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor, told lies on the radio again yesterday, and the Tired Donkey—though he has no animosity toward magical bearded creatures in general—feels compelled to expose those lies. Are the lies tax related? Please allow the Tired Donkey to avoid the question; he believes he could construct an argument that they are, but he does not feel like going through the exercise. Instead, the Tired Donkey asks his readers to indulge his inability to resist engaging in battle with Magical Bearded Gnome Reich.
As most of you should be aware, the Employee Free Choice Act was re-introduced in both the House and the Senate a few days ago. The Tired Donkey will not spend time attacking the ridiculous name of the Act, but will not use that name as it is very misleading; the Tired Donkey prefers to call this piece of legislation the Worker Intimidation at The Hands of Organized Union Thugs Act (“WITHOUT”) and will do so from here on. The WITHOUT Act would revise key provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, the 1935 law that established a federal right for workers to organize into labor unions and set out the procedures to be followed to establish such organizations.
One of the things the NLRA does is describe how a non-union workplace becomes a union workplace: (1) >50% of the workers sign a membership card with a union, (2) if the employer refuses to recognize the union (as is usually the case), a secret-ballot election is held, and (3) if >50% of the workers vote for the union, there is a union. The WITHOUT Act changes this to nothing but (1). Why is this a bad thing? Because it opens the door to massive intimidation of people who don’t really want a union. Today, employees often use their secret ballot to vote against a union. This means—in case you weren’t following along—that >50% of the workers signed a union card, but when they had the election, they voted against the union. This happens for reasons the Tired Donkey thinks are obvious, but he will share them with you just to be sure you get it: the workers feel compelled by union thugs to sign union membership cards, but when they get the protection of the secret ballot, they are able to vote their conscience. Hence the name of the WITHOUT Act: it gives you a union without the protection of a secret ballot vote.
And here, in case you were concerned that the Tired Donkey had forgotten, is where we get to the lies of Magical Bearded Gnome Reich. In his little Marketplace piece, he asserts that “the most important feature of” WITHOUT is that it strengthens penalties against employers who intimidate union organizers. This is tripe. While WITHOUT certainly does this, if that is all it did—or even the most important thing it did—it would not be very controversial. It is controversial because it seeks to eliminate the secret ballot from the organizational process. But the Tired Donkey understands why Magical Bearded Gnome Reich says what he says: MBG Reich is a shill for organized labor, and they want to pitch WITHOUT as a worker protection act when it is, in fact, exactly the opposite. The Tired Donkey urges you: don’t be fooled by the lies. Back to taxes tomorrow.