Control. It is the most pressing priority for the leadership of Big Labor. They need to control the masses, and in order to do that they most control the terms of employment, and they must control the benefits of employment. For this reason, the Big Labor bosses oppose employee incentive raises. They create discord and jealousy, and thus, the union’s ability to control its membership. But such incentives also create ambition, initiative, and increased productivity. While important to the the employer, these traits are potentially damaging to the union. Complacency, mediocrity and sameness benefit the union, as the results are that it takes more employees to produce the end product, translating into more union members and more union dues, which is the ultimate objective.
As has been documented in previous blogs, unions have been on a steady decline since 1947 when Congress, following more than a decade of union corruption,passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Of the many important provisions of the Act, perhaps none was more so than the guarantee of the secret ballot election which, for all intents and purposes, eliminated Card Check! Since its peak, union membership has dropped from approximately 35-40% of the workforce to a low of 11.3% today. Per statistics gathered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, included amongst this trending decrease is a drop of approximately 400,000 members in the last year alone.
It is no surprise then that the Big Labor bosses are opposed to any initiatives that would, in their minds, result in decreased membership and would eliminate traditional union “selling points.” Characterization of ambition and incentive has often been that such persons are “being taken advantage of” or “overworked,” and that such companies are “sweat shops.” These traditional arguments, however, do not necessarily reflect the truth of the modern work environment, and the protections of our modern laws. At one time unions served an important purpose in defending employee rights. However, Big Labor has fallen victim to the money, lifestyle and political power realized from increased union membership, and has lost their way and forgot their responsibility was to serve the membership and not vice-versa! Their greed, inability or resistance to compete in a free market society, and the advent of government agencies such as the NLRB, EEOC, and DOL unions in effect became obsolete.
Facing extinction, Big Labor’s Gasping Dinosaurs have yet to face reality and change its model to one that truly benefits productive employees and its membership in general. Instead they continue to attempt to impose their outdated and ineffective tactics of control, intimidation, coercion, and misinformation in a frantic effort to survive. Instead, they continue to wish to return to the days of Card Check where they force unionize employees then keep them under their thumbs by negotiating oppressive contracts that control employee rights instead of expanding them. They firmly believe this outdated approach is their only means of rebuilding their once vast empire!
Unfortunately for American employees, Big Labor does not realize time has passed them by; and that the United States is a republic not a socialistic country where people are controlled and herded like sheep. Hence Big Labor’s propensity to control and promote sameness at every juncture, and to prevent businesses from doing the right thing by rewarding productive employees through incentive programs, which drives American Exceptionalism by rewarding those who are the most productive, safe, innovative, and cost-effective team players. This philosophy is illustrated by Big Labor bosses like Andy Stern (see The Drama Queen is at it Again), who were never successful in the free market, because they lacked the exact attributes they strive to suppress. They admittedly only became successful when they became part of an environment where they could use the Persuasion of Power over employees and employers to achieve their goals. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka summed it up succinctly in a speech this past week when the bellicose mouthpiece of the AFL-CIO, confirmed the Big Labor survival doctrine: “forget the workers – focus on politics!” This statement tells you everything you need to know about Big Labor’s agenda and why we need Congress to pass laws to allow employers and government agencies restrained by outdated collective bargaining agreements to incentivize employees and reverse The Decline of American Exceptionalism!
Once again the mainstream media and our elected officials have given the SEIU and its puppet in the White House (see Puppeteer) a free pass with regards to their socialistic/communist leanings. The recent passing of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez made international news, but very little was heard in the mainstream media from the President or the SEIU.
Despite the fact it was reported that the SEIU celebrated Chavez’s passing as a comrade, very few in the mainstream media stepped forward to expose the SEIU’s Insidious Tentacles that infiltrate the White House (see SEIU Celebrates Comrade Hugo Chavez and Chavez Celebrated at SEIU Offices in New York). Why was an organization that has openly demonstrated its communists beliefs by marching with communists in California once again given a free pass (see Communism at the Highest Levels?). Why wasn’t the close relationship between the SEIU and most powerful man on earth, and their close tie to and support of, Hugo Chavez exposed by the media (see SEIU Exposed)? The only answers can be either, (1) a philosophical agreement, or (2) a fear of retaliation in the form of attacks upon donors or revenue sources such as advertisers in the case of the media.
While the uninformed might find it hard to believe that the media could be bullied by an organization such as the SEIU, we have seen evidence of it recently. As related in The Devil at Our Doorstep, Fox News succumbed to the SEIU’s call for people to boycott Fox’s advertisers unless Fox called off Glenn Beck’s attacks on the SEIU. Glenn Beck, who had arguably the most popular T.V. show in America at the time, was throttled and eventually asked to leave Fox because of these attacks on Fox’s advertisers (reference the SEIU’s site Glenn Beck and Republican Violence).
The fact that the SEIU’s celebration of comrade Chavez’s passing was not even given a mere mention by the mainstream media, and its indiscriminate attack upon Fox News, are perfect examples of the SEIU’s Persuasion of Power ! A power condoned by many state and federal politicians, including the present administration, in exchange for political support. The SEIU, representing both private and public employees, is at the forefront of the battle to save the Gasping Dinosaurs’ from extinction! The SEIU who realizes that Public Unions are the last Hope for Big Labor at America’s Expense has the power and connections in bankrupt states such as California and at the highest level of the federal government to affect policy and ultimately the direction of the American system of government!
While it is understandable that Democratic politicians, whose coffers are funded by SEIU dollars, have remained silent, it is unfathomable that Republican have done the same. These individuals, who don’t seem to understand it is time to go on the offensive, stood by quietly and let a unique opportunity pass. The Republican party fails to understand that it is time to connect the dots for the American people by presenting a clear picture of organizations like the SEIU, which was instrumental in the President’s re-election, and what it truly represents! Thus, they are failing as a political party and losing their grip on political control in America.
Americans need to wake up to the fact that many politicians including our president buy into the SEIU’s belief of ‘Social Justice” and ultimately socialism/communism as the future for the United States of America as witnessed in the video Obama and the SEIU Sittin’ in a Tree ! This video should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind in what this president believes in , who he supports and the fact he is attempting to destroy the greatest country and opportunity for all people in the history of the world! Unfortunately, The Problem with Socialism is Socialism. At some point “you run out of other peoples money,” as was so eloquently expressed by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher! It is time for all Americans to connect the dots and realize we have politicians at all levels, especially the current administration, who believe a Chavez-type of government is the most fair and only means of achieving ’social justice.” In truth, they could care less about the poor and downtrodden. Just like Chavez’s regime, all they care about is power and money!
Americans need to wake up and realize we are embroiled in The Cold War Within: The Fight for America’s Future! It is time to connect the dots and understand this administration and its supporters like the SEIU are bent on destroying America as we know it and as our founding fathers envisioned it! America, We are at War! Armageddon is at Hand! Please Wake up before it is too late! We Have Met The Enemy!
Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley should pay close attention to the experiences of Dave Bego, the Indiana businessman who started a company from scratch. By 2006, after years of unrelenting toil and sacrifice by Bego and his family, Executive Management Services, Inc. (EMS) had expanded into 38 states and had 5,000 employees. Bego now had something so valuable it became an attractive target for unionization.
Bego’s story, which he has written about in two books and has turned into a one-man information crusade, is not unique. But his decision to fight back is very unusual, and his account of how his company was targeted has gone largely unreported. The details of his fight reveal a frightening lack of legal protection for company owners and their workers from union intimidation, as well as a dated, shamelessly abused set of exemptions shielding over-zealous union organizers from legal sanctions. A UnionWatch article from December 2012, “The Special Privileges And Exemptions of Public Sector Unions,” references several compilations of how unions escape many of the laws that govern the rest of us, but hearing about what actually happened to Dave Bego makes it far less academic.
It is conventional to assume that if somebody is critical of a union’s tactics, they must be anti-union. But even Dave Bego, who fought the SEIU for years, believes that unions have a legitimate role to play in a capitalist democracy. Because Bego, in an ad placed in the Indianapolis Star, offered to hold a secret ballot election among the employees to decide whether or not they wished union representation. As stated publicly in this ad: “EMS is very willing to let its employees vote in a secret ballot election conducted by the federal government to decide whether they want to be members of your union or not… we have encouraged you to seek an election since your first contact with EMS” (view EMS ad).
The problem unions have with a secret ballot election, apparently, is that the union might lose. When union representatives met with Dave Bego, and during all of their subsequent campaign of pressure and intimidation, what they wanted him to do was sign a “neutrality agreement” (view actual neutrality agreement presented to Bego). Here are highlights of what a neutrality agreement does:
What a neutrality agreement does is enforce the process known as “card check,” whereby instead of voting in a secret election whether or not employees want union representation, the union organizers gather individual signatures on consent forms. Armed with the home addresses of every single employee, the union has three years to target individuals, one by one, until 50% of them sign the card. This process, currently only legal if and when an employer signs a neutrality agreement, would become law of the land if the union-supported, misleadingly named “Employee Free Choice Act” ever becomes federal law.
Because the unions wanted Bego to sign a neutrality agreement, he refused on principle, because doing so would have denied his employees the right to a secret ballot election. That’s when the troubles started.
As summarized in Bego’s book, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” the SEIU embarked upon a campaign of persuasion that relied on laws designed to give unions an advantage over employers. Here are some examples of rules that impose double standards on the conduct of unions vs. employers during union organizing campaigns:
In order to hold a secret election, the union has to get 30% of a company’s employees to sign a petition asking for a vote. To do this, their operatives approached EMS employees – over and over – on their way to work, in the parking lots, and sometimes even followed them home. They enlisted the support of local clergy, who organized blockades of buildings where Bego’s employees worked. Because EMS provides contract janitorial services, the unions organized demonstrations outside these buildings, intimidating the building owners in an attempt to get them to change vendors. They sent letters to the press and to EMS clients alleging “unfair labor practices” which in most if not all cases were without merit. Indeed, in November 2007, EMS filed a set of counter-charges (view EMS Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against SEIU), and in the subsequent NLRB hearing the ruling was in favor of EMS. Even the NLRB felt the union had gone too far.
These “corporate campaigns” occur every day across America. Most employers cannot withstand the pressure from the unions. At one point, the union campaign against EMS included enlisting children on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating in Bego’s neighborhood, and after being given candy, they gave each resident a union flyer.
While Bego has managed to successfully fight the SEIU, at least so far, most people can’t stand up to the intimidation that appears to be standard procedure for unions who operate a corporate campaign. Not only the company owners, but their family, their employees, their suppliers, and their customers face harassment. Sometimes this harassment escalates into vandalism and violence, with laws in place that create for unions a higher threshold before such acts become criminal. But the unions are lobbying for even more laws to assist them in their corporate campaigns. For example:
Eliminating unfair union advantages, currently built into federal law, would not necessarily eliminate unions. In a recent speech at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation (view speech – begins at 5:40), Bego emphasized that some workplaces probably would benefit from unionization. But unions must play by the same rules as the companies they negotiate with, employees should have a right to a secret ballot in elections concerning unions, and nobody should be forced to join a union.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs come from a variety of ideological leanings, but it is accurate to state that most of them support Democratic political candidates. Perhaps this, combined with their extraordinary personal wealth, blinds them to the agenda of unions, despite the fact that public sector unions already control California’s state and most of its local governments and their unsustainable financial demands are contributing to the insolvency of those institutions.
If the Silicon Valley business elite want to maintain control of the companies they founded, and preserve the vitality of the new industries they helped create, they should take a careful look at the proper role of unions in 21st century America. Because the rules governing unions and union organizing are at a tipping point. If union-friendly legislation continues to emanate from Washington D.C., and Sacramento, the Silicon Valley may find itself on the front lines of a battle for which they are entirely unprepared.
Following my recent speech at The Heritage Foundation, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to meet with members from organizations dedicated to the true spirit of preservation and protection of American freedoms. In attendance were a prominent group of labor experts and other groups including The Heritage Foundation, The Manhattan Institute, The Labor Relations Institute and many others. We had an in-depth discussion about forced unionization, the effect it has on American employees and employers, and the role it plays in American economics and The Taking of American Freedoms.
The group engaged in a roundtable discussion where participants were provided an opportunity to ask questions about The Devil at Our Doorstep and my personal experiences with the SEIU. They wanted to better understand how my company was able to rein in the intimidation tactics utilized by big labor during a Corporate Campaign, methods supported by recent NLRB decisions to force unionize employees though Card Check. As the discussion evolved, there were many suggestions on ways to eliminate the brutal campaign tactics. This included passage of a National Right-To-Work law (NRTW), embracing Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations lawsuits (RICO) and, at a state level, passage of laws intended to prohibit bullying and intimidation by labor bosses. James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation proposed that we should modify state extortion and blackmail laws to include unions, which are currently not implicated under labor law. This would prohibit pressure campaigns which are designed to force an employer to surrender, rather than trying to persuade the employees to unionize.
Although I am in favor of a National Right to Work Law and some of the additional legislation proposed by the participants, I noted some possible concerns. While NRTW is a potent tool to protect employees, it does not have the teeth to hold its own against the big labor bullies. NRTW merely eliminates the “security clause” in collective bargaining agreements, effectively allowing employees to opt out of the union if they so desire. NRTW does not, however, eliminate the “check off” clause that big labor utilizes to keep employees tethered to the union. This is a clause that big labor demands in its collective bargaining agreements because it forces the unionized entity to deduct union dues from the employees’ paychecks and submit them to the union, unless the employee openly declares he or she does not want to be a part of the union. This may sound simple, but due to behind the scene intimidation tactics used by big labor bosses at the workplace, very few employees will actually opt out and request non-union status. The big labor bosses don’t want to acknowledge that Collective Bargaining is a Privilege, Not a Right, fearing that members would vote with their pocket books and against the unions if these agreements were truly negotiated to benefit the members!
The “check off” clause is imperative to unions and is found in almost all collective bargaining agreements. With this clause, unions do not have to expend the time and money for accountants to bill and collect dues from the employee. More importantly, it is a guaranteed revenue steam that is not contingent on them providing a service to its membership. Unlike a typical business operating in a free market system that has to provide an acceptable product or service in order to be paid, big labor bosses do not have to worry about such inconveniences. Instead, they use intimidation to keep the membership in line and the money from dues flowing! If big labor actually had to collect its own dues, the members would react to its poor service as customers do when a business provides poor service, they would quit buying or in this case quit paying!
“To force a man to furnish contributions of money towards the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves is both sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson
This fact was made quite evident in two major instances, although neither was widely reported by the mainstream media. In the first year of Governor Mitch Daniels’ (R-IN) first term he eliminated the “check off” clause for public employees by Executive Order. Within the first year, approximately 90% of public employees quit paying union dues. They obviously were not pleased with the services provided. Not long thereafter, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), achieved essentially the same result through legislationduring the first years of his first term in office. Unions in Wisconsin immediately saw approximately a 30% drop in their membership when members voted with their pocketbooks and stopped sending monthly dues to the unions. Joe Brock, a former union organizer, succinctly summed up big labors’ pathetic record and inability to keep members without intimidation and coercion when he said, “If unions could do what they really say, instead of a 6.6% membership rate in the private sector, the union halls would look like Wal-Mart on Black Friday!”
Dianna Furchtgott-Roth of The Manhattan Institute, pointed out that RTW states not only have the highest employment growth over the last 4-5 years, but they also have the highest growth rate for union membership! The statistics she presented were absolutely astonishing, but few people likely picked up on the significance and reason behind the union growth in these states. Since employees aren’t required to join unions in RTW states, more companies are relocating to these RTW states. However, this actually provides unions new and fertile ground, as witnessed with the Boeing case in South Carolina. Despite the fact that a state or country is RTW, the law does nothing to prevent big labor Corporate Campaigns to force unionize employees and employers. In fact, as discussed by Russ Brown of The Labor Relations Institute, these campaigns are being exported all over the world as big labor becomes more and more desperate to reverse its dwindling membership!
It may come as a surprise to note that most union employees that are under the pressure and intimidation from big labor bosses will choose not to opt out of the union! The intimidation from union stewards and public employees paid to conduct union business on the job prevents employees from opting out of the union. As a part of any collective bargaining agreement, these people should not be allowed access to employees on the job! As Dianna described in her talking points, these public employees or Official Time Loafers contribute nothing to government except to further union goals and intimidate current employees to remain with the union, all at a cost to the taxpayers of approximately $156 Million each year. These are the jobs we should target to reduce government spending!
The lesson to be learned is that when the free market is allowed to work and people are free from intimidation, they vote with their conscience. It is easy for big labor to intimidate and keep members when they have guaranteed means of collecting dues. However, when big labor is forced into a situation where they have to collect union dues on their own, it cannot accomplish the task! Even more important, this puts unions in a position where they must provide the service expected by the members and utilize dues for the employee’s benefit. If unions were to adopt this type of free market mentality, they would likely see their membership grow, without the use of intimidation and coercion. Unfortunately, they have no desire or understanding utilizing such an approach, hence the need to eliminate the “check off” clauses in any future RTW bills.
Obviously, this would be a highly contested issue as the President and the Democratic Party depend heavily on big labor for political contributions, political support and ground game. It is certain that the White House would block any attempt to pass a NRTW law, or any legislation that would eliminate the coveted “check off” clause. They know that big labor cannot compete without its bullying intimidation tactics, and in a true free market society, unions would become extinct. It is time to level the playing field for all Americans by passing a National Right to Work law that also prohibits dues “check off” clauses, because Right to Work Is A Basic American Freedom!
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