Democrats' reconciliation bill denies employees choice in the workplace

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  one month ago  •  11 comments

By:   James Sherk (MSN)

Democrats' reconciliation bill denies employees choice in the workplace
On Labor Day, the public celebrates workers' dignity. Ironically, Congress will soon consider legislation denying workers a say in how they communicate with their employers. Sen. Bernie Sanders has committed to including the PRO Act in the reconciliation bill. One of the PRO Act's provisions would eliminate a safeguard that protects workers' agency: the federal ban on secondary boycotts and strikes.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



On Labor Day, the public celebrates workers' dignity. Ironically, Congress will soon consider legislation denying workers a say in how they communicate with their employers. Sen. Bernie Sanders has committed to including the PRO Act in the reconciliation bill. One of the PRO Act's provisions would eliminate a safeguard that protects workers' agency: the federal ban on secondary boycotts and strikes.

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Federal labor law is premised on giving workers agency, empowering them to decide how to deal with their employers. The law protects workers' rights to speak to their employers collectively through union representatives. It also protects their right not to unionize and instead deal directly with their employer. The fundamental principle of existing federal labor law is the worker decides, and the federal government protects their freedom to choose.

Secondary boycotts and strikes are inherently anti-worker.

Secondary strikes occur when a union strikes to prevent its employer from doing business with a second company the union wants to organize. As a hypothetical, imagine the United Auto Workers has unionized General Motors. In a secondary strike, the UAW would strike GM if it purchased parts from nonunion suppliers or provided vehicles to nonunion dealerships. The strike would last until GM stopped working with those companies or the workers became unionized.

Secondary strikes are incredibly powerful organizing tools. They allow unions to leverage organizing one company into unionizing all firms that do significant businesses with that company. In the above example, the part suppliers and dealership would need to unionize to stay afloat.

But secondary strikes and boycotts are also hugely coercive to workers. Secondary strikes turn workers into pawns on an economic chessboard. These strikes put an economic gun to workers' heads, telling them they must join a particular union or lose their job when their company goes under. Workers can still vote on whether to unionize and which union to join. However, if they do not join the specific union pressuring their company, their firm may go bankrupt, and they may become unemployed. Joining the union thus becomes an offer they can't refuse or a bullet they must bite.

Secondary actions take the choice about unionizing out of workers' hands.

This is precisely why federal law has prohibited them since 1947 when Congress voted overwhelmingly to outlaw secondary strikes and boycotts. Congressional debate featured stories of constituents forced to unionize through secondary actions. Members of Congress supported the right to unionize, but they wanted workers to make that decision.

As Pennsylvania Sen. Ed Martin explained: "I recognize labor's right to strike to obtain relief from grievances, [but] I am opposed to … secondary boycotts. …. I believe the American workingman should be protected in his right to work freely at the job of his choice."

Federal law allows union workers to strike to raise their own pay. But under current law, unions cannot use secondary actions to force other employees to unionize. Unions must persuade those workers to join voluntarily. This system puts workers in the driver's seat.

So why is Sanders trying to eliminate labor protections that have lasted almost 75 years? Because union membership has fallen significantly over the past generation. Unions have not been able to organize enough workers to replace members lost at bankrupt companies. While unions represented a quarter of the workforce in the 1970s, they now represent just 1 in 10 employees.

Unions want the PRO Act to reverse this decline. Legalizing secondary strikes would certainly boost their membership. But it would come at a terrible cost: abandoning the principle that employees decide who represents them.

James Sherk is the director of the Center for American Freedom at the America First Policy Institute. He previously served as a special assistant to the president in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House during the Trump administration.

Tags:Opinion, Op-Eds, Unions, Labor, Congress, Bernie Sanders

Original Author:James Sherk

Original Location:Democrats' reconciliation bill denies employees choice in the workplace


Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
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Texan1211
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    one month ago

Forcing someone to join a union seems wrong.

Should a worker decide what is best for him or her self?

Or should some union?

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
1.1  SteevieGee  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

Having a nice Labor day weekend?  Thank a union.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1    one month ago

The issue here is whether people should decide for themselves, or just do what a union demands?

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
1.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  SteevieGee @1.1    one month ago

Why? For something they did in the 19th century? Unions had their time; they are now outdated Neaderthals that cater to the Union hierarchy more than the workers they claim to represent.

If Unions weren't giving major campaign contributions to Democrats- then Democrats would have no use for them. This is nothing more than Bernie selling out workers to keep the Union campaign contributions flowing.

Democrats obviously don't care about workers.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.2    one month ago

Many unions were formed in the 20th century. The union I was a member of for years was formed in the 1930’s which is the 20th century the ILWU was formed due to violence against longies. You should research “Bloody Thursday”” and the forming of the ILWU.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
1.2  Sparty On  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

I can help you here Tex ... it helps to understand the liberal mindset a little:

Choice in reproductive rights?   Good.

Choice in labor rights?   Bad

Choice in free speech?   Good but only when supporting a liberal nrrative

Choice in conservative free speech?   Bad

Choice in gender self assignment?   Good

Choice in visiting a restroom that only your biological gender can visit?   Bad

Dot, dot, dot ...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Senior Principal
2  Nerm_L    one month ago

Well, hypothetically the UAW could call a strike over GM buying components from unionized shops.  But the workers at the those other shops have a choice over organizing under a union that the UAW can't control.

A real world example would be GM making management decisions over the supply chain that has affected the workforce.  GM management decided to buy imported chips and now can't get those chips.  The GM workforce has been idled because of that management decision.  Should workers have a voice in management decisions that pose risks to their jobs?

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
2.1  Ronin2  replied to  Nerm_L @2    one month ago

The Union gave up their controlling interest in GM. Why? Because Unions suck at running anything. They can't leverage negotiations against themselves. They could care less about the continued stability or success of the companies they negotiate against. This is about getting the best deal they can so they can increase Union dues. Many times direct payments from the companies to the Union are worked into the contracts for the Union dues, retirement funds, and strike insurance.

As for the GM Union workers, they are still getting paid for this down time.

Hourly GM workers represented by a union “will receive about 75 percent of their compensation through a combination of unemployment and supplemental benefits,” Barnas said by email.

Which is the reason you don't hear the auto workers or the Union screaming. GM is still hemorrhaging money paying both Union workers salaries; and storage for vehicles that don't have chips they need to be sent to dealers for sale. There is only so much they can mark up the sale prices for vehicles before the market breaks.

I deal with GM on a daily basis. I know several production line workers at Lansing Delta that hope their down time continues through hunting season; as it won't cost them any vacation or personal time. Which is great for them and will cause more staffing issues down the road once production resumes. There might be grumblings once hunting season is over; and production doesn't return to normal- but for now they are living the dream getting paid to do nothing.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @2.1    one month ago

GM isn’t hemorrhaging money at all. In 2020 they had an after tax profit of over$5 billion. The 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021 where were profitable as well even with the chip shortage. 
It seems that GM is doing quite well even with union labor, pandemic, and the chip shortage.

I’m on my phone and having a problem linking articles but there all there if you care to update your info.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
2.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  Kavika @2.1.1    one month ago

It is 2021 isn't it? What do you think is going on with multiple plants shutting down for weeks on end? The longer those plants are shut down; the longer that GM is paying for storage and taxes on vehicles they cannot move; and the longer that they have to pay workers to sit idle- the more their profit margin is cut. 

If they were doing so well US automakers wouldn't be begging the Senate for help.

But keep the pie in the sky thinking going. Things are not that great when you ask the non production line managers; part procurers; and transportation providers for GM. They just can't flip a switch and these plants will be able to start back up instantly. That is when the chip shortage finally ends.

A variety of analysts agree that the most problematic shortages will begin to ease in the third or fourth quarter of 2021, though it could take much of 2022 for the resulting chips to work their way through the supply chain to products. The supply relief will not be coming from the big, national investments in the works right now by South Korea, the United States, and Europe but from older chip fabs and foundries running processes far from the cutting edge and on comparatively small silicon wafers.

There is no short-term solution, according to Gupta. "If supply is constrained you can't increase it in a short timeframe …. We're looking at the second quarter of next year" before lead times improve. In the meantime, prices will go up.

There is a broad acknowledgement within the industry that the shortage "will last up to next year minimum," he said.

Analysts say the continuing squeeze could lead to higher prices for consumers.

SEB, a French maker of kitchen equipment such as blenders, has already warned that it is being forced to hike its prices.

While Ford CEO  Jim Farley  (and  some analysts ) remain optimistic that the global semiconductor chip shortage  could be over by the start of Q3 , others aren’t painting such a rosy picture. Taiwan – the world’s largest chip manufacturer –  doesn’t know when the shortage might end , and many experts believe that  it could go on at least until the end of 2021 and possibly longer . Now, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has admitted that the problem likely won’t be completely resolved for a few more years.

“We have a couple of years until we catch up to this surging demand across every aspect of the business,” Gelsinger said during an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes . Gelsinger also pointed out that a mere 12 percent of the world’s chip manufacturing takes place in the U.S., which has declined from 37 percent 25 years ago.

“Anybody who looks at the supply chain says, ‘that’s a problem,'” the Intel CEO added. “This is a big, critical industry and we want more of it on American soil. The jobs that we want in America, the control of our long-term future.”

Intel is currently scrambling to increase its own chip production by retooling its factories, but that process will take several months to complete. Meanwhile, amid a flurry of production cuts, Jim Farley recently  participated in a White House summit  with other automakers, chipmakers, President  Joe Biden , and members of Biden’s staff regarding the shortage. In that meeting, Biden promised that legislation addressing the issue  and  congression funding to support production were on the way, though two auto industry groups are pushing the Senate for a resolution .

But hey, GM stock is still at a decent price right now. How much longer before reality sets in?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.2    one month ago

Did you take the time to read there 2021 1st  and 2nd quarter reports which I referenced in my comment?

GM addressed the shortage and that it would likely last to years end.

GMSaid the plants will be closed down for two weeks.

chip shortage and labor costs are two different subjects.

 
 
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