Obama Commits to Supporting Unionization

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December 4, 2008 @ 2:30 UTC

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Barack Obama
Economy & Trade, Labor & Immigration

In a matter dear to the hearts of the progressive labor movement, an Obama spokesman has reaffirmed the incoming President’s commitment to support the Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act”.

The measure, which progressives claim to be “pro-labor” is more aptly described as pro-unionization, with all the unexamined flaws that attend thereto.  What the law would do is actually remove from employees their only opportunity to express their real feelings about potential union representation in a secret ballot and force employees instead to express their will solely through a card filled out and signed under the direct supervision of a union organizer.  Make the “wrong” choice on the “card check” and the employee could be vulnerable to job loss if the union is formed anyway or other forms of social or even physical intimidation.  Rather than the boogyman of intervening coercion by business, such fears are precisely the reason that “card check” drives tend to show the appearance of more support for unionization than secret ballots do.  After all, which is more likely: That employers have found a way to monitor and influence employees in the secret ballot, or that union organizers have found a way to monitor and influence employees filling out a card check right in front of them?

The commitment from Obama is bald political payback.  Union leaders were strong supporters of Obama and they lavishly contributed to Obama’s campaign from the coffers of union dues extracted and spent without workers’ consent under the pretense of funding collective bargaining.  And union officials clearly hope to use the new coercive powers granted to them by a compliant Congress and President to reverse decades of workers choosing to not have union representation and its associated fees and added bureaucratic supervision by union representatives.

If there was ever a good candidate for the first Republican filibuster, this is it.

UPDATE: The probable pro-union tilt in the Obama administration has been reinforced by the appointment of a union activist for Labor Secretary.  This might be an appointment for Republicans in the Senate to resist.  The Labor Secretary is supposed to be a neutral arbiter of labor laws that protect workers from both employers and unions, not a cheerleader for unionization.  While Obama’s other cabinet picks thus far have been generally excellent, the appointment of a union organizer as Labor Secretary is the kind of low-profile, high-impact appointment that can cause an incredible amount of damage to worker’s rights during a time when jobs might already be hard to come by.

©2008 PoliGazette. All Rights Reserved.


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