Thursday, December 18, 2008
Somewhat surprising (though not surprising that The National Review picked it up):
This is a transcript [from] the Al Sharpton Radio program earlier [yesterday].
Al Sharpton: Yeah, well, what I don’t understand about it which is why I’m in the campaign is why wouldn’t those of us who support workers being protected, why would we not want their privacy protected. I mean why would we want them opened up to this kind of possible coercion?
Sylvester [Smith]: Well, and that’s the 50 million dollar question, Rev. Sharpton, it’s a question we’ve been trying to answer but we think that the heart of this issue is not about protecting workers, the heart of this issue is about the decline of union membership that’s been going on in this country for the past thirty years. The unions at this point are in a death spiral and much of it’s tied to the exportation of production jobs from this country to other countries and the unions…
Al Sharpton: Yeah, the outsourcing, well I’m all for, and as well for those who don’t believe in the right to organizing, clearly I’m for any legislation to give any state the right to organize, but I’m talking about specifically where workers are not protected from coercion, in terms of these card-checks that you talk about, and as arbitration because explain, Charlie King, to me the whole question that you raised, if you have a federal arbitrator who says that this is the deal, even when the union only established out of card-check, is the deal for two years, and there’s nothing you can do about it, I mean, a lot of the business that we afford for the African American community to get contracts and sub contracts and all. They could face some very serious problems here.
Sharpton appears to worry that the EFCA could circumscribe employee's privacy rights and also first contracts being hoisted upon minority-owned businesses by outside arbitrators.
There is a lot to say in response and I hope that Rev. Sharpton will listen to the other side's explanation about where the real coercion and lack of privacy takes place - in the workplace from the employer. I also hope someone explains to him how interest arbitration works and that arbitrators do not just force employers to agree to onerous collective bargaining agreements. Interest arbitration takes materials and evidence from both sides and then comes up with a compromise that both sides can live with.
My fear is that if Rev. Sharpton is confused about the benefits of EFCA, then unions and their allies have some hard work ahead explaining to legislators - especially Democratic ones - how this law will work and what abuses it will prevent.
Hat Tip: Justin Keith