The Republic’s slippery slope to dishonesty

10 Mar 2009 08:56 pm
Posted by: Donna

This morning’s Republic warns readers against a piece of legislation that, in the fevered imaginations of the editorial staff, will wreak untold devastation on an already “shaky” economy:

The EFCA, or “card check” legislation, may be a boon to the union supporters who spent $450 million in behalf of Democrats in the past election cycle. But it will constitute a crushing burden to the economy – just when businesses start crawling out of the shell hole of the recession.

The stagnant wages of recent years are a serious concern, not just for organized labor but for the health of the economy. The radical card-check proposal is not the way to fix that problem, however.

Card-check would render pointless the fundamental tool of labor organizing: the private, anonymous vote by workers on whether to organize. Further,

Card-check is dangerous legislation in a good economy. In times this bad, it could smother a recovery in its infancy.

We hope Vice President Joe Biden reconsiders his commitment made to union leaders last week at the pricey Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

Card-check is bad policy in the best of times. It is particularly harmful in a down economy.

Oooh scary.

However, the careful reader will note the absence of some necessary information in that statement. First, what exactly is in this legislation that frightens them so? Second, what does it do that “render(s) pointless the fundamental tool of labor organizing: the private anonymous vote by workers on whether to organize”?

Let’s start with what the Employee Free Choice Act is, and isn’t. Current employment law allows workers to form a union either through a process called card check – where the majority sign a card stating they want to form a union – or by an election. Sounds great. The problem is that the National Labor Relations Board will only recognize a union if the workers form a union through getting at least 30% to sign a card requesting a union and then holding a secret election run by the NLRB. Even if 100% of the workers signed the cards, the election must be held and companies are given several weeks to bring in high-priced, high-pressure union busters to browbeat employees into voting against the union. EFCA will allow the workers to bypass the election entirely and form a union by simply having the majority sign cards. EFCA will NOT take away the right of workers to have a secret election if they so choose. The Republic is obscuring that fact with weasel-y ambiguation. The act will let the workers, not the employer, decide. So, of course, it’s “dangerous legislation”. To the Chamber of Commerce.

The EFCA also requires that bargaining proceed within 10 days of the card check or election and stipulates that if the union and the employer can’t reach an agreement within 90 days, either party can refer the matter for resolution via Federal mediation. This must be what the Republic is referring to when it states, ominously, that “it would dramatically increase the role of the federal government in arbitrating union contracts.” Oh noes!

Once you understand all this, it pretty much renders everything else the editorial says silly and needlessly alarmist.   And notice the promiscuous use of the term “radical” to describe EFCA.  It’s a word appearing frequently in right wing talking points of late.   I suppose I should give the Republic points for not succumbing to the urge to throw “socialist” in there too.  

Oh, and the Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami?  Reviewers on tripadvisor.com say it’s a dump. 

6 Comments

  1. Comment by Dana Kennedy on March 11, 2009 9:18 pm

    This is the same paper who did not endorse Minimum wage and called us labor goons. If you look at APS – union doing well, SRP, union doing well, Ratheon, union doing well, the list of good companies with good jobs that are union are doing well. Heck if we gave the worker an equal playing field. If you ask anyone at the Republic about unionizing they start to speak quietly and change the supject for fear of getting fired! That speaks volumes!!!!

  2. Comment by todd on March 11, 2009 11:40 pm

    It seems the main message of the right is that the US economy is in the tank due to unions, greedy minority home buyers, and illegal aliens. They are searching for scapegoats to blame instead of their deregulation and tax policies.

  3. Comment by Katie on March 12, 2009 8:32 am

    That left wing, liberally-biased, socialist rag! Oh, wait… never mind.

  4. Comment by Eli_Blake on March 12, 2009 6:01 pm

    Last week they let a letter writer publish a letter in the paper that included some made up facts (specifically that unemployment had increased throughout Roosevelt’s first two terms in office).

    I realize that they have a disclaimer about letters to the editor not reflecting their views and blah blah blah, but letting that kind of a major lie into the paper, even in a letter to the editor without doing even a basic fact check suggests a high level of unprofessionalism.

  5. Comment by Craig on March 15, 2009 12:51 pm

    The Republic is not a conservative paper (generally speaking), and it isn’t a liberal paper (no matter how much the wingers scream that into their echo chamber.

    What it is, however, is a corporate paper, interested mostly in maintaining and enhancing business profits.

    That’s why they oppose EFCA, but never endorse the likes of Russell Pearce (for vastly different reasons, both serve as obstacles to a never-ending supply of cheap labor.)

    When the Rep’s editorial board picks out a position, the criteria aren’t “right” or “left” or even “right” or “wrong”.

    It’s always “more profits” or “less profits”.

    Don’t expect them to ever come around on labor issues – they will *always* side with the union-busters.

  6. Comment by Donna on March 16, 2009 11:05 pm

    Craig, you are exactly right. I’m reminded of Al Franken’s very apt observation that accusing the MSM of being too “liberal” or “conservative” is as wrong as claiming that the problem with Al Qaeda is that they use too much olive oil in their hummus. It misses the point. The problem with the media is that they are too embedded with corporations.

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