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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:25 am 
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Mahima wrote:
vison wrote:
Mahima wrote:
Whats the reasoning/incentive to remove the secret ballot? I can't think of any.


Everyone can see how everyone voted. Intimidation - a guy won't vote against whatever his buddies are voting for if they're watching.


I mean the incentive to change the legislation. You can't have "intimidation" as an incentive to change the legislation. At least, not in public.


If the bill passes, union membership will rise. That will increase union revenue. That's why union leadership likes this bill.

Politicians who get campaign contributions from the unions are paid to like this bill.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Any discussion of the possible change in the union system should begin with the Taft Hartley Act of 1947. It was that bill that fundamentally changed and weakened the power of labor unions from the original Wagner Act of the 1930's.

Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the subject. Here is a very small part

Quote:
The Labor–Management Relations Act, informally the Taft–Hartley Act, is a United States federal law greatly restricting the activities and power of labor unions. The Act, still effective, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and legislated by over-riding U.S. President Harry S. Truman's veto on June 23, 1947; labor leaders called it the "slave-labor bill"[1] while President Truman argued it would "conflict with important principles of our democratic society"[


One of the real controversies of Taft Hartley was that it was promoted by business leaders and politicians who wanted to quell or stifle the great outbreak of labor unrest that occured after World War II.

Millions of GI's fought fascism overseas and defeated it. They defeated a system where the power of government was combined with the power of corporations to stifle the common man and take away his rights. They returned home in 45 and 46 and wanted to exercise the rights that they had fought so hard for in the service. They had beat fascism overseas but were now faced with powerful corporate interests here in America.

The lobbied and struck for better wages as was their right under the National Labor Relations laws. Two main groups of congressman combined to pass Taft Hartley. The first was anti-union Republicans who were against unionism as a matter of philosophy and principle. The second was Democrats, primarily from Southern States with strong laws to stop or stifle unions. These two groups formed a temporary alliance to pass Taft-Hartley in 1947.

As you can see by the above comments, it was called a "slave labor bill" and the President himself said it conflicted with basic democratic rights. Truman vetoed the bill but the coalation in Congress held and they overrode that veto and it became law.

It is that law, and subsequent amendments and court rulings based on that law, which gives us the current system of union elections in the workplace.

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Last edited by sauronsfinger on Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:41 pm 
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Prim wrote:
I really find myself wondering how many hourly-wage workers would turn down the chance to unionize right now.


I would oppose it in the company I work for, because the owner of the company would probably be annoyed enough to shut the business down if we did that.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:40 pm 
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So then why, SF, do you wish to do away with secret ballots in the vote on whether or not to form a union?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:02 pm 
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I see it like this CG. We are all Americans and we all subscribe to the basic time honored American principles that made this nation great. And when we have issues arise that divide us - such as the union card check off system - we want out particular viewpoint to triumph.

I am a union man through and through. I do not want to speak for you, but I would guess that you are not.

I favor laws which favor unions.

In this upcoming struggle about the union card check off sytem there will be two opposing sides. I suspect we will be on opposite sides.

One side will select a time honored American principle - MAJORITY RULE. This is what they will use as a main plank in their effort to change the law. The other side will use a different time honored American principle - SECRET BALLOT. That is what they will use as a main plank in their effort to stop the change in the law.

Both will have a respected American principle on their side.

I will go with the principle of MAJORITY RULE and lobby to change the law and institute the union card check off system. It removes some of the Draconian provisions brought in by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, later amendments and court decisions based on it. I view the system of elections for union representation as sham elections conducted under less than fair conditions which give extra powers to the employer enabling them to subvert the will of the majority who signed the petitions for the election in the first place.

It is no secret that there is a lag time between the time petitions are submitted to the NLRB and the time the actual election is held. Often, leaders of the union effort are fired in the meantime. Often, the new replacement workers are rabidly anti-union - as if they were hired for those particular opinions. And when the subsequent election is held, the union loses because of the unfair efforts of the company.

Thus the election is a sham no matter what ballot is used - secret or otherwise.

So I am not going to defend what I believe to be a sham system that is the creation of anti-union forces going back to 1947 and Taft-Hartley.

The idea of invoking the SECRET BALLOT is waving the flag and hoping everyone will salute.

I will be saluting the flag which says MAJORITY RULE.

I don't think that makes either of us a hero or villian because we see that differently. And I don't think that either of selecting one American principle over another makes us right or wrong. That is simply how politics works.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:26 pm 
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You can have both. You do not have to choose between them. You can have the majority abide by the decision of the secret ballot. What makes you oppose expressing the will of the majority thorugh a secret ballot?

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"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:28 pm 
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As sf pointed out, C_G, if the election is rigged, secret ballot makes no difference.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:31 pm 
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So the answer is to work to make sure that the election is not rigged, not to eliminate the secret ballot, which simply promotes rigging the election in another way (by making intimidation and peer pressure easier).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
So the answer is to work to make sure that the election is not rigged, not to eliminate the secret ballot, which simply promotes rigging the election in another way (by making intimidation and peer pressure easier).


Precisely.

Not only is peer pressure and intimidation easier, so is the system of spies reporting to the employers as to which employees are most enthusiastic for unionization.

Hm. That was a crappy sentence, sorry, but it gets my point across. I hope. :(

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:00 pm 
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They way to do that would be to have the actual election within a very short time span after the petitions are submitted to the NLRB - say within a rather short window of opportunity.

Then you would have to freeze the eligible voters to the actual people who were eligible employees on the day the petitions were turned in.
No additional employees added to the voter rolls.
No employees fired during that period except for criminal or serious activity and even then they could still vote.
Independent observers from the NLRB sent there full time to monitor all phases of the campaign and election with the ability to impose serious fines for any infraction from either side.

other suggestions?

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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: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:07 pm 
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Sounds good. That way we can have both majority rules AND secret ballots, instead of having to choose between them.

I have no problem with that.

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"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:08 pm 
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CG - maybe Voronwë can print up T-shirts that say

"Plays Well With Others"?

we both can buy one.

;)

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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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