Sunday, March 15, 2009
One-Man Wrecking Crew
Dean Baker is often at his most devastating when it comes to the economics reporting in the Washington Post—he bats them around like a cat preparing to consume a particularly mangy mouse—but here, he delivers a nice smackdown to the Wall Street Journal instead:
Okay, let's see if we can teach the Wall Street Journal something this morning. In an article reporting on the prospects for the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate the WSJ told readers that: "the bill would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join."Oof. So clear, so brief, so brutally true. We'll spot him the awkward use of a colon after that, the mensch.
Wrong! The current law already allows workers to organize by majority sign-up. They can also have a union de-certified by majority sign-up. The difference is that under current law it is the employer's option to accept majority sign-up or to demand an NLRB election. Employers who wish to prevent unionization can demand an election. They can then delay the actual election for several years. They can use time to require workers to attend mandatory anti-union propaganda sessions. They can also fire the key organizers, thereby undermining the organizing drive and intimidating workers.
The main change in the law under the Employee Free Choice Act is that workers, not employers, would decide the method for union certification. The WSJ should be able to get this one right.