Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Big Business Predicts Armageddon Through Employee Free Choice Act

"This is about the demise of a civilization. This is how a civilization disappears," states Bernie Marcus of Home Depot. "It will be a firestorm bordering on Armageddon," warns Randel Johnson of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Now that we have a Democratic president and Congress, business leaders are more panicked than ever about a piece of legislation that they feel may destroy our way of life: the Employee Free Choice Act. 

Following a decades-long slide in union membership, the Employee Free Choice Act would help employees form a union more easily and deter the activities of anti-union employers. The bill gives workers the right to unionize as soon as a majority signs cards stating that they want to do so. Workers would also have the right to hold a secret-ballot election. It's their free choice–whether to use the cards or a secret ballot. It's also a choice that companies would have to honor.

According to the New York Times, "Union officials say they do not dislike the secret ballot, but rather the lengthy, expensive, adversarial campaign before the vote in which companies often fire union supporters and use videos, large meetings and one-on-one sessions to pressure employees to vote against unionizing." 

Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education at Cornell University, "...examined more than 400 National Labor Relation Board certification election campaigns in manufacturing plants between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 1999, and found that 25 percent of employers fired at least one worker for union activity and that 51 percent of employers told employees that their plant might close if workers unionized."

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) produced the ad above mocking business hysteria over this issue. SEIU's statement on the video:

Our country is on the verge of "armageddon," "nuclear war," and "the demise of a civilization."

According to CEOs and their front groups, the fabric of our nation may well fall apart, all because of the Employee Free Choice Act. Its opponents no longer debate the merits of the bill, and instead resort to hyperbolic vitriol intended to inflame the public and press.

In reality, the Employee Free Choice Act is a bipartisan, common sense economic recovery for working families that will pump billions into our nation's economy.


Anok said...

This administration must scare the pants off of big business and their fat CEO's. And I say GOOD. Yes, we should be able to unionize and use labor power to transform companies from slave wage employers to decent companies that pay decent wages, and make decent products.

Yes, we should have things like Obama's health care come in an offer some honest to goodness competition.

They are scared, and they should be. People will only take being fed a lie for so long.

Jeff Tone said...

Anok: Well, the idea is not to scare business for the sake of scaring it. The administration does want as much business support as it can get without selling out its principles. The idea is, as you stated, to treat employees fairly. Businesses would rather force workers to accept their wages and working conditions and not fight for their rights through unions.

Instead of health care "competition," which is what the Republicans harp about, what we need is affordable coverage for every citizen. But I think that's what you were ultimately speaking about.