Friday, October 3, 2008

RTWF on Dana/Metaldyne

Nrtwheader Patrick Semmen's at the Right To Work Foundation's blog has a recent post on the Dana and Metaldyne cases (see here for our descriptions of Dana).  Some of the post continues the discussion on Anne Marie Lofaso's (WVU) "September Massacre" piece, which was hashed out quite thoroughly here earlier (see also here).  The main thrust of the post is the following:

Ever since the National Labor Relations Board ruled in the Dana/Metaldyne case exactly one year ago yesterday, pro-forced-unionism "scholars" have rushed to decry the decision as "revolutionary." Apparently giving workers more freedom of choice is deeply disturbing to union bosses. . . .

The truth is that even with the Foundation-won protections afforded employees under Dana/Metaldyne, employees face a system drastically skewed to get unions in power and keep them in power [which Semmen's describes as "easy-in and hard-out']. And under "card check," these systemic biases are multiplied exponentially.

First - and most obviously missing from Lofaso's discussion - is the fact that under a card check "voluntary recognition" both the union organizers and the employer favor instituting the union (otherwise the employer would demand a secret-ballot vote).

Similarly, her complaint about "captive-audience speeches" rings hollow because under the current so-called "voluntary recognition" process captive audience speeches are most likely to be used to aid organizers in imposing the union on employees. Take the case of the Johnson Controls, for example.

Finally, Lofaso completely ducks the issue of the deep problems with card check compared to less coercive methods. There have been numerous employee reports of intimidation, half truths, lies and harassment of employees by union organizers during card check drives, where organizers corner workers one on one to pressure them into signing cards that are later counted as "votes" but Lofaso never addresses, or even references, those obvious problems that help provide the basis for the Dana/Metaldyne decision.

Ultimately despite what Lofaso and other pro-Big Labor "academics" say, Dana-Mataldyne does only one thing... give workers an additional right to challenge a union's claim of majority support via a secret ballot election. This important yet modest check represents only a small rebuke against the ability of union organizers to gain monopoly control over a workplace without even the support of a majority of employees.

My initial thoughts when Dana was first released are still relevant to this discussion:

I support the idea of maximizing employee free choice and the advantages of a free and fair election.  However, I find the Board's use of these ideas to be disingenuous.  The current majority has done nothing to rectify the obvious imbalance that exists in Board-run elections; to the contrary, they seem intent on minimizing employee choice whenever it is to the employers' advantage.  There is a lot of room for real NLRA reform in this area--reform that would truly maximize employees ability to freely choose to unionize and to refuse to unionize.  But, at this point, the battle is little more than each side trying to maximize whatever advantage they can muster.


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