Toomey, Club for Growth, Demonize Unions, EFCA

Today’s Republican Pundit Gone Wild is Pat Toomey, head of Club for Growth, writes today about the dangers of unions. Evidently they cause acne, will destroy our economy, leave dirty stains in our sinks and cause earthquakes if Congress passes the Employee Free Choice Act. Everybody panic.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I am not a union apologist. In the interest of full disclosure, I have boarded corporate jets and with that corporation’s chief labor negotiator. Indeed, I rode with the labor negotiator on several occasions, to Washington, DC, Columbus, OH, Ithaca, NY and Houston, TX. That said, I am not anti-union, either. It is my view that there have been sins on the part of management and unions over the last hundred years in this country. Conversely, there are many good examples of management doing right by employees, as there are good examples of unions standing up for employees and their rights. Pat Toomey, Chair of the Club for Growth, has a different opinion. He thinks all the problems in the world are the fault of unionization.

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer Toomey writes a column calling for the defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a small modification of National Labor Relations rules that would allow unions to be certified without a secret ballot under some conditions. Toomey, in an over-the-top drama queen conservative performance, claims right citizens have never had, blames unions for disasters and calamities, and predicts economic catastrophy if this one little rule is modified. Hey, and the big secret is that unions are already allowed to be certified without secret ballots. What the EFCA does as concerns Pat Toomey’s column, is take away the right of companies to force a secret ballot.

As I understand it, prior to the EFCA, companies could call for a secret ballot even if 100% of its employees signed a document saying they wanted to form a union. The National Labor Relations Board would then schedule a time to come run the election. What happens in the meantime? Well, there’s a whole lot of politicking that happens, by the union organizers and the company. Essentially, under present labor law, even if 100% of the employees say that they want a union, the company gets a do over and time to convince those same employees. The EFCA doesn’t let that happen anymore if a mojority of the employees sign saying they want a union. Yeah, this is a small little change in the law, and it takes away the company’s right to a do over.

Pat Toomey thinks the change EFCA represents is the end of the world, and that unions will now destroy American manufacturing completely. I am particularly enamored of this paragraph in his Philadelphia Inquirer article, where Pat Toomey blames the unions the current economic crisis:

Even though most Americans – and even a majority of union members – think fair workplace elections conducted by secret ballot are preferable to card check, Congress doesn’t seem to be listening. And given the economic crisis, this is precisely the wrong time to be sacrificing the interests of American businesses and workers.

The government will likely step in to save the auto industry because of the prevailing belief that it’s too big to fail. But if the auto industry can be brought to the brink by big labor, what about America’s small businesses? By definition, they are small enough to fail, leading to lost jobs and investment.

That’s why stopping the Employee Free Choice Act is an important part of any economic-recovery plan. Let’s hope Congress realizes that before it’s too late.

According to Pat Toomey, the unions forced GM and Ford and Chrysler to produce huge SUVs, trucks and vans. The unions forced GM to make those land yachts and Hummers and cars and trucks that got bad mileage. Then when the price of gas went through the roof and the lending market collapsed, clearly, according to Toomey, because of unions, the unions forced people not to buy GM and Ford and Chrysler cars. In fact, I’m surprised Toomey has not blamed unions for record losses at. . . Toyota.

What are the facts here? EFCA is a relatively mionr change to the labor environment in this country. Pat Toomey is Chicken Little, only the sky isn’t really falling. He’s today’s Republican Pundit Gone Wild.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

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