Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unions Aim to Subvert Democracy

This is an alarmist headline. It also happens to be true, which is why the alarm should be raised.

The United Food and Commercial Workers are trying to force unionization on the employees of the Bashas' grocery chain; meanwhile, a second union is trying to work its way into the Milum Textile Service in downtown Phoenix.

The Phoenix New Times reports that there is a lot more going on than just a little political lobbying:

At the heart of both conflicts is the unions' goal of forcing management into labor agreements without giving employees the chance to vote in a secret-ballot election....

Officials at Bashas' and Milum Textile say they want secret-ballot elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board to decide whether their workers are unionized. If more than half of their employees vote to unionize, the companies would have to work with respective unions to set wages, benefits, and workplace rules for affiliated employees.

The unions have a different plan. They want to do an end-run around such elections, which long have been the usual route to organizing workers. They want the matter decided through what's known as the "card-check" system....

Under the card-check system, union advocates gather workers' signatures on union-approval cards over time. If they eventually get more than half of a company's workers to sign up, the union can legally represent the firm's employees without an election — as long as the employer agrees to acknowledge the card-check system.

Neither Bashas' nor Milum will acknowledge the system.

What's particularly galling about this "card-check system" is that the union will know who hasn't voted for them yet; no one's identity is kept secret.

In other words, the unions would like to overturn one of the key components of the democratic system: the secret ballot. Ancient Athens and Rome employed the secret ballot for many important decisions, but apparently the unions would rather take their cues from the totalitarians whose Marxist ideology still permeates so much of the American labor movement.

And just in case it wasn't enough for them to try to do away with secret balloting, they're busy bribing people to plant stories in the media:

Tolentino Lazaro, a 64-year-old janitor, said he used to see cats in the building occasionally, but not anymore. The place can get dirty, he admitted, but he said he never saw rats.

Lazaro's said his problem was that he didn't like how Bashas' treated him after he was injured on the job. He said the company paid him less because he was on light duty for a few months.

When Lazaro was finished telling his story to
New Times, Sanchez [a UFCW official] fished a $5 bill out of his wallet and started to hand it to Lazaro.

"No, no!" Giglio [another UFCW official] told Sanchez. "You're not supposed to pay him in front of the reporter."

And in case you were wondering, the United States House voted in favor of doing away with the secret ballot for union elections; only the Senate stopped them. In the lower chamber, every single Democrat voted to abolish secret balloting.

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  • You misunderstood, it wasn't the Arizona House that voted to force elimination of the secret ballot election for employees, it was the U.S. House of Representatives that voted on this with every single Democratic member voting in favor of it. This occurred last year.

    Craig Milum, Milum Textile Services

    By Blogger Craig Milum, at 4:23 PM, January 29, 2008  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:24 PM, January 29, 2008  

  • Craig, thanks for the correction. I apologize for the error; I must have been in too much of a hurry. The mistake has been corrected.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 10:50 PM, January 29, 2008  

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