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EFCA

Fighting Back

The nationwide union battle is heating up and union officials are already adding up how much more union dues they will be able to spend once the Employee Free Choice Act is signed into law.

Ricardo Torres President & CEO - PSLC

3/6/2009

The nationwide union battle is heating up and union officials are already adding up how much more union dues they will be able to spend once the Employee Free Choice Act is signed into law.

When the AFL/CIO split up and the Change to Win Coalition was developed it opened up “Pandora’s Box”. The internal fighting within the unions is getting very tense and it will affect the tenacity of organizing activity and unions raiding each other for membership.

Many union officials want a stop to the central union power base and want to have a more regional base of control. They don’t want all decisions made from the top without consideration to their individual organizational needs. This will certainly turn into a war between union officials to secure more power.

This is evident by the latest news coming from unions; they are aliening themselves, breaking these alliances and then realigning themselves again with the primary goal of gaining the power to attack companies and build their power base at the same time.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association (CNA)/NNOC have once again come together to organize Healthcare. This is the third time in the past ten years they have agreed to bring their resources together to force their agenda upon this industry. When I was part of putting together the organizing alliance between the USWA and the CNA our main concern was to build our union density in health care. The reasons were not because we were concerned about the plight of these poor workers or because we were worried about patient care, in fact these issues were never discussed. We were only concerned with collecting more union dues, an estimate of potential annual dues in excess of 3.3 billion dollars a year in health care alone.

Building union density in health care or any industry for that matter will allow them to threaten management with strikes unless they give in to union demands. Top union officials do not worry about patient care! I once sat at a table where a top union official stated, “People can go to other Hospitals if they get sick”.

This year, 91,000 SEIU-represented health care workers have signed petitions filed at the labor board saying they would like to vote on whether to be represented by a different union. This was spurred by dissident leaders of a 140,000-member SEIU local, based in Oakland, who clashed with SEIU President Andy Stern and his deputies.

The civil war within Unite Here, the union representing hotel, restaurant, apparel and laundry workers, has reached the secession stage. A splinter group claiming to represent 150,000 of Unite Here’s 400,000 members announced Monday that its delegates had voted to break away and merge into the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Nurses associations in four states (New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington) withdrew from the United American Nurses, the national AFL-CIO union of registered nurses.

Unions are positioning themselves for a management take over. They are fighting to be in the front row when the EFCA bill is passed, while management still doesn’t understand what drives their counterpart. Executives from Costco, Starbucks and Whole Foods have suggested a Labor Bill compromise. They want to cut the proverbial baby in half by suggesting shorter election times in exchange for keeping the secret ballot election. These executives don’t seem to understand that this compromise is a sign of weakness to the Union leaders. As Andrew Stern said about any politician who does not vote for the EFCA in its current form, “We put them (the politicians) in office and we can take them out”. The unions smell victory and they will not compromise!

While some of our largest companies’ waste time trying to compromise on the EFCA, the unions are moving forward with their unrelenting quest to pass this bill in its current form. In California thousands of pro-union activists have gathered at the Capitol to declare California as "an Employee Free Choice” state. All over the country, unions are organizing for this fight and are confident they will win. Politicians in Washington D.C and across the country have become nothing more than cheerleaders for big labor.

In the past, as a union official, I have had the opportunity to testify to Congress about organizing workers from the union perspective. During these visits, parties from both sides were professional. However, the atmosphere has changed on Capitol Hill. When I testified against the EFCA, it felt more like going to a union rally. Union officials and supporters were chanting and yelling while politicians gave speeches and verbally attacked anyone testifying in committee against the bill and challenging their motives instead listening to their testimony.

Recently, the Employee Free Choice Act has been a common theme in our newsletter. This is certainly not because I enjoy the topic to the point where it is all that I want to write about. I write about the EFCA because it is VERY real and a VERY serious subject. I have been inside the unions at a high level. I know from first hand knowledge the damage that this Bill can do to corporate America. As a leader to your organization, you owe it to your share holders, management team, employees and customers to take a stand.

Recently, FedEx took such a stand. It has been reported that FedEx has threatened to “cancel billions of dollars in new plane orders (up to 30 planes) from Boeing” if the EFCA is passed. Not only does this send a strong message to Congress, it also will certainly motivate Boeing to lobby on behalf of FedEx to block passage of the Act.

While this may be an extreme hard ball approach, you can do your part too. Be sure to write your government leaders and let them know that you are against the EFCA. Let government know that a secret ballot election is a right for both employees AND employers. Educate yourselves on the realities of the Act.

If this does in deed become law, you need to position your company to remain union free. Permanent Solutions offers proactive training for all levels of management to keep unions from getting a foot hold in your facility. If you would like more information of our proactive training or are currently facing a union organizing campaign contact us today for more information.