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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 4:14 pm 
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In Praise of the Employee Free Choice Act

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For far too long the union movement has been hampered from growing into the large retail sector by the ridiculous reason that their employees don’t want to be in a union. Thanks to the efforts of the unions to support the Employee Free Choice Act, such petty reasons to not form a union will finally be dispensed with.

In our current unfair system, once a sufficient number of employee check card signatures are gathered a period of campaigning begins, during which time the employer is allowed to try to give reasons why a union would be bad for the employees, but is not allowed to make threats or to make bribes. Nor is he allowed to fire union organizers without exceedingly good cause. The union is able to make promises of higher wages or better working conditions. Then a secret ballot election ensues, monitored by the government to ensure it is fair.

The secret ballot is horribly unfair, it allows employer to intimidate the employees even though the employer has no way of knowing who voted which way. Instead we can have the intimidation free union recruiting when Sal the Shiv, Moose, and Knuckles walk up to an employee and say “Youze gonna sign this union card? Youze gonna sign it cause youze don’t want no ‘accidents’ to happen.”

Some contrary types are going to claim they were threatened, from the safety of the anonymity of police protection. They are going to claim that their health or life or family were threatened. We know they’re actually just trying to cause trouble. The only reason they are anonymously reporting that their life was threatened was to ensure that they don’t get served court papers for defamation after they drag the good name of Bruno the Bruiser through the mud. If they really meant what they were saying they’d be proud to say it publicly.

Under the current unfair system, the initial round of union talks require both sides to act in good faith and gives both sides time to prepare for the initial negotiations. If the EFCA passes, a union can organize in secret (and it had better be in secret says Kneecapper Gus) and present its demands as a fully formed union at the negotiation table as the first indication that a union is forming in the first place - and good faith won’t even be demanded of the union. Unions always negotiate in good faith, they never make unrealistic or unreasonable demands.

Resistance to the EFCA shows that employees really don’t know what they want, and need to be told to be in a union even if they mistakenly think that they don’t want to be in one. They just don’t know what is in their own best interests, no matter how much they think they do. Who cares if less people are hired due to higher union wages? They’ll be compensated with welfare that is probably higher than what any non-union employer would pay. It doesn’t matter where people get their money, as long as they get it, so it will all work out. Plus they’ll need those higher welfare payments to afford the higher prices at the now-unionized stores. If they ever wished they could afford expensive items their wish will be granted as the items they shop for will be the expensive items.

Knowing all of that, there is no reason for anyone to oppose the act which gives Unions the free choice of Employees. And they’d better know there’s no good reason to oppose this if they know what’s good for them.

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Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 4:53 pm 
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This article was extremely difficult to read. I'm assuming, from the fake names like "Kneecapper Gus" that most or all of this was sarcasm and hyperbole. But as someone who has not been following the issue closely, I'm really confused. As a Teamsters' union member, who has never had this kind of manhandling, I'm wondering if the author is talking about a different union that has more brawn than brains.
:Wooper:

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 5:58 pm 
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Laureanna - I can see what you mean. I felt the same way until I actully clicked on the link and read about its author:

Quote:
About paulie cannoli
(see more here)

I was born in the former USSR in 1972 and the USA is reminding me more of the country my parents took me out of every day. Growing up in the epicenter of the 1980s crack cocaine explosion in NYC, I got caught up in the available business ventures and saw some of my friends die, and then became an activist against the drug war. Through my involvement in the drug peace movement, and college studies in free market environmentalism, I became interested in libertarianism, and abandoned the Democrats after they picked the military-industrial-corporate-statist DLCer, and drug warrior hypocrite, Bill Clinton as their nominee in 1992, thus finally disproving the idea that 60s radicals were merely infiltrating the establishment in order to change it.

I became an LP member in 1995 and a life member in 2000, and was on the executive committee of the Alabama LP in 1998. Since 1998, I have traveled the country as a professional activist.

Between that and my earlier travels in the import-export business as a teenager, I have been to 49 US states and about 20 countries, and lived in a number of them. As a life long entrepreneur, I have also started hundreds of businesses in a wide variety of fields.

I am currently working on the Steve Kubby for President campaign, am one of the organizers of the LP Radical Caucus, am an advisory board member of Liberty Consulting, and am working to start a new national College Libertarian Organizing Committee.


Then it became clear the artice was not written in standard English and not meant to be read by normal folks. The website it came from is rather specialized and intended for the authors fellow True Believers. Like you, a long time union member of over 35 years, I have never enountered anything like what is alluded to here. I think somebody has seen far too many bad Hollywood movies, read too many lurid dime novels and drank far too much Kool-aid.

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 7:57 pm 
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laureanna wrote:
This article was extremely difficult to read. I'm assuming, from the fake names like "Kneecapper Gus" that most or all of this was sarcasm and hyperbole. But as someone who has not been following the issue closely, I'm really confused. As a Teamsters' union member, who has never had this kind of manhandling, I'm wondering if the author is talking about a different union that has more brawn than brains.
:Wooper:


There was obviously sarcasm there. But the part about how the bill removes the secret ballot is very true and relevant. Doing away with secret ballot elections on whether or not to form a union ... doesn't that guarantee that the process is completely fair?

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It is a myth that coercion is necessary in order to force people to get along together, but it is a persistent myth because it feeds a desire many people have. That desire is to be able to justify hurting people who have done nothing other than offend them in some way.

Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 8:05 pm 
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I am surprised CG could not find an article which unfairly smeared both labor unions and Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the same time. Twice as much bait on the hook. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Apr , 2009 10:07 pm 
Als u het leven te ernstig neemt, mist u de betekenis.
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Quote:
Doing away with secret ballot elections on whether or not to form a union ... doesn't that guarantee that the process is completely fair?
:damnfunny: Oh. You're being serious.

If anyone is being pressured or manipulated, a secret ballot is the only way for voting to be without coercion. "I voted for Knuckles, honest."

This is true of any election or ballot apart from public officials and representatives who are held accountable to others. They should have open ballots. All others should be secret.

*slam*

*dunk*

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PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr , 2009 3:30 am 
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It seems that when people find out that the EFCA does away with the secret ballot, people turn against it.

Most people do, that is. The hardcore union supporters who don't care about the workers but instead support the union for its own sake seem to prefer the EFCA that way.

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It is a myth that coercion is necessary in order to force people to get along together, but it is a persistent myth because it feeds a desire many people have. That desire is to be able to justify hurting people who have done nothing other than offend them in some way.

Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr , 2009 4:14 am 
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Can you direct me to an even handed presentation of this EFCA?

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PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr , 2009 10:35 am 
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here are several that may help you Laureanna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_Free_Choice_Act" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

http://www.freechoiceact.org/petition/" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?ti ... Choice_Act" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

http://www.themiddleclass.org/bill/empl ... e-act-2007" target="_blank" target="_blank

http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/emp ... -act/home/" target="_blank

http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/emp ... -act/home/

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. - John Rogers


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PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr , 2009 11:43 am 
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Quote:
It seems that when people find out that the EFCA does away with the secret ballot, people turn against it.


Maybe there is some polling which suggests this. But the premise here is that this glorious and sacred SECRET BALLOT is somehow, someway a perfect Good in all respects that is serving the interests of people and needs no reform or change in any way. Opponents of the EFCA have attempted to sieze upon what they think is a sacred American principle - secret ballot - and emblazon those two words on white flags in ten foot high letters embroiderd in gold and march it in front of the nation. The fact is that these so called elections for unions are riddled with intimidation from companies toward workers, involve a history of firings and hirings to change the outcome of a vote, and often are dragged out for a long period of time through endless legal and procedural challenges.

Proponents of the EFCA have their own sacred white banner with gold lettering and upon that are the two words MAJORITY RULE. That is a pretty sacred and time honored principle in this nation also. If a majority of workers in a company or plant say they want to join a union - that should be honored. That is direct democracy at work in the workplace.


Quote:
Most people do, that is. The hardcore union supporters who don't care about the workers but instead support the union for its own sake seem to prefer the EFCA that way.


This statement is silly and foolish on its face. You cannot have a union without workers. Period. Workers will not join a union if there is no need for one. Workers will not continue to support a union if the union does not demonstrate results for them. A union has to perform in the workers interests or it does not survive long in the world. To say the union does not care about workers is just nonsense.

People who make these sort of arguments against unions remind me of that opening line from the old Sam Cooke song "Wonderful World"

"don't know much about history....."

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. - John Rogers


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 12:24 am 
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Thanks for the links, SF!

So... The EFCA is a bipartisan effort introduced 2 years ago, that passed the House but was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate.

I read the original act here:
http://law.onecle.com/uscode/29/159.html" target="_blank
and the proposed amendment here:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.1409" target="_blank:

Current process: organizers get employees to sign a petition for a vote to unionize. The petition is presented to the Labor Board. Then a secret ballot is held.

Proposed process: organizers get employees to sign a petition to start a union. If over 50% sign the petition, the union exists, and various gov't entities will help with negotiations, mediation, and if needed, binding arbitration. The process is short and direct.

Seems to me that the quicker the process can be accomplished, the less opportunity there is for coercion, threats of job loss, threats of harm, etc.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 5:36 am 
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laureanna wrote:
Seems to me that the quicker the process can be accomplished, the less opportunity there is for coercion, threats of job loss, threats of harm, etc.


What about the possibility of coersion involved in gathering signatures? You have to admit it is there. As has been pointed out, one can say to the organizers "yes, I did vote to form a union" after voting "no" and there's no way the organizers can tell.

The only way we can tell if the majority really does want a union is if they can vote on it, free to express their opinion without fear of reprisal. Otherwise proponents of the act are saying that they employees aren't competent enough to refuse a union without a union to represent them to do so.

The unions say that the employer magically knows who voted to form a union, but the real complaint is that the unions don't magically know who voted against forming a union. Those silly employees not wanting to be in a union has been the biggest impediment to the growth of unions - that has to be stopped.

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It is a myth that coercion is necessary in order to force people to get along together, but it is a persistent myth because it feeds a desire many people have. That desire is to be able to justify hurting people who have done nothing other than offend them in some way.

Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 9:39 am 
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The signing of a petition is the stumbling block. Coercion will exist for that on both sides.

Under the current situation, a secret ballot is held whereby a coerced employee can then say no under free will. The proposal does not have that safety net.

But if the signing of a petition is the problem, and that the employer will get to see who voted since they are given the petition, that is what needs to be amended.

I would suggest one of two proposals. Either the petition is given to an independent party (government body or company auditors) so the employer cannot see who signed, or a secret ballot is automatically held every (say) four years whether there is a petition or not.

I prefer the latter, paid for by the employer as a standard business expense and run by either the auditors, or if the employer is not a limited company or partnership, another independent professional body.

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 11:08 am 
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And the evidence of people being coerced or forced or bullied or intimidated or threatened to support a union can be found where exactly?

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 5:50 pm 
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Lidless wrote:
The signing of a petition is the stumbling block. Coercion will exist for that on both sides.

Under the current situation, a secret ballot is held whereby a coerced employee can then say no under free will. The proposal does not have that safety net.

But if the signing of a petition is the problem, and that the employer will get to see who voted since they are given the petition, that is what needs to be amended.

I would suggest one of two proposals. Either the petition is given to an independent party (government body or company auditors) so the employer cannot see who signed, or a secret ballot is automatically held every (say) four years whether there is a petition or not.

I prefer the latter, paid for by the employer as a standard business expense and run by either the auditors, or if the employer is not a limited company or partnership, another independent professional body.


Not a bad idea, although the gripe of supporters of the EFCA isn't that the employers can see the cards but that the unions cannot see the votes. So under your petition suggestion I would say that neither employers nor unions can see the cards. Or we can retain both majority rule and secret ballots instead of having the EFCA do away with both.

Part of your proposal would actually be of detriment to the unions though. Revoting every (say) four years on whether or not the union continues to exist would be something I imagine the unions would despise and fight against even harder than they are fighting for the EFCA. You've actually gone beyond where I have been arguing and made a stronger anti-union case than I did.

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It is a myth that coercion is necessary in order to force people to get along together, but it is a persistent myth because it feeds a desire many people have. That desire is to be able to justify hurting people who have done nothing other than offend them in some way.

Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 8:36 pm 
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One of the targets of this is obviously Wal-Mart.

But even if the section doing away with the secret ballot was passed nothing would change. Wal-Mart would still close any store where a majority of the employees signed the cards. They would still aggressively warn employees from signing those cards.

I would prefer legislation that preserved the secret ballot and instead took on companies that engage in Wal-Mart-style scorched earth tactics in response to unionization.


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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr , 2009 8:49 pm 
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Quote:
Part of your proposal would actually be of detriment to the unions though. Revoting every (say) four years on whether or not the union continues to exist would be something I imagine the unions would despise and fight against even harder than they are fighting for the EFCA. You've actually gone beyond where I have been arguing and made a stronger anti-union case than I did.


Where does the poster say that? You are reading into it something which is not at all present in the posters suggestions.

here is what Lidless said

Quote:
I would suggest one of two proposals. Either the petition is given to an independent party (government body or company auditors) so the employer cannot see who signed, or a secret ballot is automatically held every (say) four years whether there is a petition or not.


He is clearly talking about a petition to organize.

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