Steve Rosenthal has a must-read piece up on Huffington Post today documenting ten “violations of democracy” that exist under current NLRB organizing regulations for union formation. Given how hard big business lobbyists have pushed the “Employee Free Choice ends the ‘secret ballot'” canard, Rosenthal’s piece is essential. Here are violations one through three from Rosenthal’s piece:
Violation of Democracy #1: In order to have a union election, 30% of workers need to sign cards calling for an election. If that principle were applied to American presidential elections, we would have needed 70 million Americans to sign cards calling for last November’s national election.
Violation of Democracy #2: Once 30% sign cards calling for an election it can take months – sometimes years, sometimes never – because of arcane rules that allow companies to file objections that lead to countless electoral delays, before the workers actually have a chance to vote in an election. It’s usually in the interest of companies to sap the momentum from an organizing drive and delay an election as long as possible. Imagine if a candidate kept trying to push off Election Day in the hopes that the political climate would become more favorable or his opponent would give up – that’s what the current process allows companies to do. In fact, it took a 15 year organizing battle to finally unionize the Smithfield Packing slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, NC.
Violation of Democracy #3: During the run-up to the election the union is not allowed to campaign on the company’s property – which can mean not only the workplace but company-owned property such as parking lots. Meanwhile, the company is free to campaign anywhere it wants and can paper the workplace with anti-union messages. Imagine an election for president where one candidate is allowed to wander freely across the land talking to voters, while the other candidate and their campaign is banned from America and can only stand in Mexico and Canada hoping to speak to voters as they cross the border.
If you can stomach seeing how difficult it is to organize unions under current NLRB law, keep reading Rosenthal’s list of violations of democracy.