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March 02, 2009 12:42 PM UTC

Markey, Polis: We Support EFCA

  • 42 Comments
  • by: redstateblues

On Saturday, Democratic activists from around the state got together for the Colorado stop on the Netroots Nation Salon Series: Netroots Nation in Your Neighborhood. Among the panelists at the gathering (which was sponsored by local progressive organizations like AM 760, Progress Now, and Square State) was Colorado AFL-CIO director Mike Cerbo, who let everyone present know how one of the newest members of the Colorado Democratic Congressional delegation feels about the contentious Employee Free Choice Act.

Square State:

During our last panel, Governing as Progressives and Taking Over the Democratic Party, the discussion went to The Employee Free Choice Act … CO AFL-CIO director Mike Cerbo said:

Betsy Markey, one of the people that has probably more incentive than any of the others to sit there and hand wring and hide in the weeds about this stood up front and said ‘I’m going to cosponsor.  I believe in it.’ [rsb emphasis]

In the comments of that diary, Rep. Jared Polis–fresh off his keynote address to the Netroots Nation in Your Neighborhood crowd–chimed in with his own position on the EFCA:


I strongly support the right to organize and plan on supporting the Employee Free Choice Act both in my Committee (Education and Labor) and on the House floor.

We have to make sure that our recovery lifts all boats, and the ability to organize is, now more than ever, critical for working families.

The fact that Polis is supporting this bill should come as no surprise (though the vociferous nature of business-minded Polis’ endorsement does, perhaps, induce a mild eyebrow raise.) Dems in safe Democratic districts should have no trouble voting yes, but without their support, there’s no way frosh Congresswoman Betsy Markey would be able to do so as well.

The direction of this bill in the House is clearly heading toward approval–it’s when the bill goes to the Senate, where Mark Udall and Michael Bennet must decide their positions on it, that the future of the EFCA becomes significantly murkier.

Comments

42 thoughts on “Markey, Polis: We Support EFCA

      1. The fact is 82% of Democrat households agree that every worker should have a right to a federally monitored secret ballot when attempting to organize.

        That not my position of course, it is the position of some study funded by those how just want to destroy the American worker, crush worker rights, increase abortion, do away with OSHA, increase child mortality, lower the American dream of a 70% chance to graduate from public High School and silence the voices of firefighters, policemen and school teachers.

        1. It’s the adjective. Democrat is the noun.

          Whenever I hear someone use Democrat as an adjective, my estimation of their IQ drops about 20 points, because I see that all they can do is spout somebody else’s garbage without thinking for themselves.

            1. Blaming government, rather than taking personal responsibility! 🙂

              Oh, and it’s small-d democratic for democracy, big-D Democratic for the political party. There is no Democrat party, only Republicans skipped too much school to know any better.

              1. … and is that the scent of some nasty cranial diarrhea coming from you?

                Hummm, the Party can be found at http://www.democrats.org

                The fact is 82% of Democrat households agree that every worker should have a right to a federally monitored secret ballot when attempting to organize.

                public school … giving all Americans that 70% chance at a High School graduation!

                1. Why is it, as the day goes on, you just descend deeper into name-calling?

                  All I did was point out that you’re blaming your lame grammar on DPS.

                  Hummm, the Party can be found at http://www.democrats.org

                  Yes, a Democrat is a person that belongs to the Democratic Party. That would be a noun.

                  Household is a noun, too. Democratic is an adjective that describes the household. My fifth-grader could tell you all of this and he has a really hard time sitting still and paying attention in school. What’s your excuse?

                  EFCA doesn’t preclude secret elections. Show me in HR800 where it says that. I didn’t see that part, but maybe I missed it.

                  1. OK, I’ve been a Democrat since my first election in 1972, during which I walked around my suburb trying in vain to hand out McGovern literature.  As a member of the Democratic party, I am a Democrat.

                    Why, though, is a member of the Republican party not a Republic?  Republic is a noun, Republican is an adjective, etc.  

                    I used to get huffy when people talked about the Democrat party because it was obviously an attempt to rile Dems up and make us get huffy.  Then one morning I got out of bed and heard people whining about some redneck saying the Democrat party and I thought, Oh fuck it, who cares. Ever since that day, I have been much happier.

                    If we all decided that Democrat is a perfectly good word and that it doesn’t matter if we are called members of the Democratic Party or the Democrat Party; if we all just stopped caring and fussing about it, then the wingnuts would stop trying to make us all crazy by calling it the Democrat party.

                    The only other alternatives I can see are to start calling those other folks the Republic party, or to keep getting upset and letting the wingnuts shorten our lives.

                    1. If you let folks repeat it often enough without challenge, it becomes the accepted wisdom. It’s not. It’s the intrusion of politics into grammar. Why? I don’t know. Maybe Republicans are worried that people know what a democracy is, but not a republic. They’re worried that voters will vote for Democrats because they support democracy and won’t vote for Republicans because they don’t know what a republic is?

                      Apart from his visceral hatred of unions, Libertad can offer some interesting insights. But when he goes spouting “Democrat” as an adjective, he sounds like a total hack. He comes off as just another proud, ignorant, dittohead.

                      Today I decided to ride him on it. My goal is to call him on it everytime he uses it. I don’t really care if he calls me names. It’s only the internet, after all. People forget their manners and only do that when they can hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

                      Anyway, maybe he’ll stop, maybe he won’t. But, it’ll pollute the purity of his diatribes when he does.

          1. 64 percent of all the world’s statistics are made up right there on the spot.

            82.4 percent of people believe ’em whether they’re accurate statistics or not.

            I don’t know what you believe, but I do know there’s no doubt,

            I need another double shot of something 90 proof,

            I got too much to think about

            By Todd Snider

        2. EFCA does NOT eliminate the federally monitored secret ballot. Haven’t you actually read the legislation? The “eliminate” the secret ballot meme is the talking point of Wadhams and all the other GOP hacks who can’t come up with a fact-based argument in opposition. It’s blatantly false.

          1. It just allows corrupt corporate bosses and corrupt union bosses to decide if they want to pull the secret ballot rights from the employees.

            Right-to-Work is Real Employee Free Choice.

            I just don’t get you and your corrupt followers … at every turn you claim voices of firefighters, policemen and teachers will be silenced, yet it is you who wants to silence them through corrupt big boss thuggery.

            You seem to have co-opted certain pay-off bitches … what is your pay-off plan this time to get Sen. Bennet and Udall free passes?

            1. Bill was just pointing out that the EFCA doesn’t take away the secret ballot.

              Your personal vendetta against organized labor aside, he was merely correcting your misleading statement. You don’t need to be a dick about it.

              1. The EFCA allows collusion between corrupt corporate bosses and corrupt union bosses to decide if they want to pull the secret ballot rights from the employees.

                Did I fail to read that section correct, because it doesn’t say that the organizing workers elect card check or secret ballot does it?

                Why do you insist on not addressing the issues?

                Why do you protect Corporate Bosses as thuggery partners?

                What has Secretary Solis failed to do in operating the Dept of Labor?

                Why do we need this law, has the Obama administration failed the American worker in its first 60 days?

                public school … giving all Americans that 70% chance at a High School graduation!

                1. Allows corrupt corporations in collusion with their corrupt investors and “conservative” politicians to decide exactly what rights their workers should and should not have.

                  The current status of the secret ballot, Libertad, is not the pristine picture you paint of it. Collusion exists. Corruption exists. Intimidation exists.

                  Unions are by no means perfect. But I trust union leaders more than Wal-Mart’s corporate board to look out for workers’ best interests. Americans seem to trust union leaders more than business leaders or Republicans right now to fix the economy: http://tinyurl.com/cjhsks. There aren’t breakout numbers for union households themselves, so I won’t make extrapolations, but the American people as a whole are more deferential to union leaders than others when it comes to economic decisions at the moment.

                  I’ve refrained from engaging in this conversation thus far because of just how virulent your responses have been to everyone else. Go ahead, tee-off if you must. But some level-headed answers and argument could help me, and probably many others on the board, understand where you’re coming from rather than spitting platitudes and denouncements.  

                  1. I have been attempting some to have a genuine factual conversation and get an answer to any number of the questions I am asking…see below couple of posts.  but I just get attacked for Chamber of Commerce rhetoric, though not a soul wants to debate the issue.  

                    You bring up wal-mart but not the literally tens of thousands of small businesses that will also be affected by this legislation, small businesses that created 60-80% of new jobs in the last 10 years. these businesses will be hurt by the tight time lines of the binding arbitration layed out in the EFCA. And the rigidness of union contracts in tight times.  

                    Why do we want to get rid of secret ballot elections?  Unions will say that employers now can hold their employees hostage and threaten them not to join unions before the election.  However there are processes in place to reprimand companies that do this.  The NLRA strictly regulates what can and can not be said during an organizing campaign.  Bottom line is that unions still win 60% of organizing elections.  How is the process unfair when they win the majority of the elections.  When employees are treated badly they will vote, in a secret ballot, to organize, when they are treated well they will vote it down.  And if the goals of unions are to make sure employees are treated well and are happy, they should be ok with this.  If their goals are to increase membership, thus increase dues income, therefore increases political clout, then they might not be happy with an non-union employee being treated well by their employer.

                    And if you say that EFCA does not take away the secret ballot…please see below posts and respond to those.

                    This legislation will end up hurting job growth…What state has the lowest level of unemployment?  What is the union density in that state?  What state has the highest level of unemployment?  What is the union density in that state?  Compare job growth in right to work states compared to non right to work states on average which states create more jobs?  What is the salary differences(when adjusted for cost of living) in right to work states compared to non-right to work states.  

                    1. But I’m happy to give a go at answering your questions and engaging your discussion. Always appreciative when people want to talk policy not talking points.

                      First, your point on small businesses. First, EFCA is contingent on the desire to unionize, so small businesses engaging with the desires of their employees will most likely have little to lose. That being said, yes, some small businesses could be hurt by the timelines set up for binding arbitration. Or small business, which are more nimble and open to adaptation, could see a boon under this legislation and be able to adapt their practices better than larger corporations that have spent years fighting unions rather than engaging with them. This is a potential detriment that I think is outweighed by the net positives (which I’ll discuss through the post).

                      On secret ballot elections: Companies aren’t actually reprimanded in a timely fashion for violating ballot rules now. It takes years to get cases through the courts, in the US and abroad, when employees are trying to unionize. Wal-Mart is notorious for clogging the judicial system to prevent unionization; they’ll risk a lawsuit that might take 4 years and hope the employees will give up. We all know, right now, that the secret ballot isn’t actually secret. Corporations call on employees to publicly state their preferences, and many monitor elections with (I don’t want to call them thugs) people who will report back on the final votes. Unions win a majority of secret ballot elections because most of the time people want to unionize for better benefits.

                      WInning a majority of them, though, doesn’t mean the system works. That’s flawed logic. We don’t know that the 40% of the time unions lose that people don’t want to unionize: often, there are plenty of other factors (like employer intimidation) that prevent unionization.

                      States with high unemployment levels also have decent-sized union populations, you’re right (MI than RI, IIRC, are above 10 percent). This isn’t causative though. Unions are heavy in manufacturing states, those sectors have been hit hardest by recession, thus a disparate number of workers in those states will become unemployed. States like MS, AL, SC and TN, all “Right to Work” states, have similarly high levels of unemployment. MT also saw its unemployment rate spike after passing Right to Work during good economic times. Causation? Probably not. Just like high union levels isn’t causation for high unemployment now.

                      Apologies for the length. Edited down as best I could, and didn’t answer everything.  

          2. This was my post in last week’s post on EFCA.  Questions that no one here wanted/could answer. Do you want to have a political discussion or just slap those on the back that agree with you and condemn those who dont??  So I ask again…

            There is also one correction that someone rightly called me out on last week. correction is in bold  

            “Right now union organizers win 60% of organizing elections.  Why then do they say that they need to “even” the playing field with the EFCA???

            The Union propaganda says that the EFCA gives the choice back to the employee.  Where in the EFCA does it REQUIRE the organizers to specifically tell the employee that they have the choice to a secret ballot?  It sounds to me that organizers will not have to tell the employees that they have a choice to request a secret ballot election so who really has the “free choice” if they dont even know its an option??

            Under NLRA laws Right now organizers usually get 60% of cards signed before they petition the NLRB for unionization when all they have to get is 30%.  After they petition the NLRB for union recognition the employer gets an opportunity to request a secret ballot election.  The unions go after 60% b/c they know they will have some defections during the secret ballot election.  If the Card Check process is fair then why would unions only petition the NLRB after 60% of card are signed??

            Bottom line is that the EFCA does not give the choice to the employees.  It gives the choice to the union.  Further…what is wrong with secret ballot elections??  How is a secret ballot closely regulated election a bad thing??  It is what we as Americans have fought for here and abroad.”

            1. It really helps me understand your argument when you show documentation proving the statistics you shared are real, and not just pulled out of your ass.

              1. This link will take you to % of elections won…

                http://bnalaborplus.bna.com/LB

                This is the source from a heritage foundation article that states that unions collect over 60% of cards signed before they submit the cards to the NLRB…after that it has three quotes from union officials confirming this fact.

                David L. Cingranelli, “International Election Standards and the NLRB: Representative Elections,” Parts 1-3 in Richard N. Block, et al., eds., Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States (Kalamazoo, Mich.: W.E. Upjohn Institute, 2006), p. 42.

                the 30% threshold is in the NLRA.  

                Hope this helps you “understand” my argument.  Now you can attack the heritage foundation…in a ad hominem attack…or you can actually respond to the factual information placed in my original post with an informed and factual rebuttal.  I guess that just depends on whether or not you actually know what you are talking about.

          3. The Union propaganda says that the EFCA gives the choice back to the employee.  Where in the EFCA does it REQUIRE the organizers to specifically tell the employee that they have the choice to a secret ballot?  It sounds to me that organizers will not have to tell the employees that they have a choice to request a secret ballot election so who really has a “free choice” if they dont even know its an option??  

            I think a rational person would assume that if the Union organizer has the choice of whether or not to tell the employee they have the right to choose b/w card check and secret ballot election the choice is only in the employees hands if the organizer feels it should be.

            Where is the “Free Choice?” Please correct me if I am wrong.  

            1. It says it in Section 159 E of the National Labor Relations Act, which EFCA does not modify.

              Really. If we’re writing a law setting the speed limit from 65 to 75 do we really need a provision to restate that obeying the speed limit is not optional?

              This is the biggest red herring there ever was and labor has done an awful job at pointing it out.

              1. I do not think it requires the unions to inform the employees they are trying to unionize that they are entitled to a secret ballot election.  

                But I may be wrong…could you post that section so we could all see it?  

                1. It’s amazing I know, but the entirety of the United States Code is actually online for everyone to read.

                  In any case isn’t that a rather silly requirement to propose since they will hear it from both the employer and the NLRB rep?

                  1. I have never heard of “the google” I will look it up…

                    I do not know what you think will go on after the EFCA passes.

                    Employers will not have to be notified that there is an organizing campaign is taking place.  Also there will not be NLRB reps at every work site being organized.

                    In the Card Check process the cards are good for up to a year…Do you think the NLRB is going to just have a rep sit around for a year at every place of work.

                    Where do you get this stuff?? You are confused…And I did read Sec. 159 E and it does not say anything about requiring organizers to inform employees of their FULL RIGHTS under the law…it just leaves the option for the secret ballot elections(AND IT IS THE ORGANIZERS CHOICE WHETHER THEY WANT TO INFORM THE EMPLOYEES OF THEIR RIGHTS.  IT DOES NOT GIVE THE CHOICE TO THE EMPLOYEES).  And the EFCA does change the circumstances of this.  

                     

    1. It’s going to be painted as “She’s towing the Liberal Democrat line” by the GOP during the election next year, but really she’s going out on a limb.

      I think this might cancel out whatever good voting no on TARP II did for her.

  1. Working people need more leverage to increase wages.  There may have been a time when unions had too much power, I don’t know, but if so things have swung way to far the other way.

  2. For those on the company side – treat your employees well and a union becomes superfluous. My dad owned several construction companies most of his professional life (he’s retired now) and never had any problems with the unions. When there were state-wide strikes most of his employees apologized to him.

    And for those on the union side, this is taking your attention away from the two big problems you face.

    First off, in the private sector, the jobs you normally represent are decreasing in size while those that are growing in numbers you are making zero headway in. The critical thing is not to unionize one more factory, it’s to figure out how you could bring value to employees in the growing industries in this country.

    Second, in the public sector you have over-reached and yes public sector employees have great job security, benefits, pay, etc. But they are now facing a backlash for that, exhaserbated by the economy. The overreach is not that bad in this state, but we may see major fireworks over this in California.

    I do think EFCA is a good thing. But it’s tweaking the edges, not fundamental to workers or the economy.

  3. Rep. Markey decided against the politically expedient thing to do in a conservative district and voted for what is good for the middle class and working people. What a huge difference between Markey and her predecessor. Rep. Polis continues to impress with his sound judgement. He fully understands the big picture and we appreciate him in CD2! “…the ability to organize is…critical for working families”

    Sen. Udall and Bennett. The working folks of Colorado are counting on you.  

  4. Way back in about 1978, as a wet behind the ears college kid, I attempted to lead an organizing campaign at a Kmart store in Iowa City, Iowa.

    As I recall, we had to get a minimum of 50% of the employees to sign the election authorization cards before an election could even be held. The union (Retail Clerks International) wanted at least 75% to cover the inevitable losses when the company began its reign of terror to discourage employees to vote for the union in the secret ballot, which would have taken place months or years later.

    In our case, we never made it close to 50%. Kmart had a very effective union-busting team, and they really did a number on our store. Lots of people got fired, harassed, and intimidated, and Kmart managed to scare the crap out of just about everyone with their propaganda and lies.

    If I understand it correctly, the EFCA just says that if 50% plus one of the employees sign the cards (which they have to do anyway in order to request an election), their intent is obvious and the union can be recognized as the bargaining agent. If the cards can be collected quickly enough, an employer is effectively prevented from using their tried and true union-busting strategies, and the employees get to bargain collectively without being persecuted for exercising their legal rights.

    That seems pretty straightforward to me, so why don’t the supporters of EFCA just say that instead of engaging mouth breathers like Libertad?

    1. You pretty much nailed the way it is. Only it got worse over the last 8 years because under Bush the NLRB just wouldn’t even show up.

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