Via Metro International [Boston]:
Millions of U.S. jobs may head overseas if a labor bill backed by President-elect Barack Obama passes, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association said.
The Employee Free Choice Act, also known as the card-check law,lets employees form unions when a majority of workers sign cards, rather than only after employees vote in secret. Obama, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, co-sponsored the legislation as a U.S. senator from Illinois.
Employers may send jobs offshore to avoid dealing with interference from unions, Gary Shapiro, chief executive officer of the Arlington, Virginia-based association, said yesterday in an interview. The measure is the biggest concern for the group, which represents more than 2,000 electronics companies, he said.
"A lot of our manufacturers have told us they'll ship jobs overseas," Shapiro said. "In the tech industry, to be innovative and to be able to compete," employers have to be able to freely hire and fire workers.
From the Courier-Journal in Kentucky:
This card check law would be partially damaging to Louisville where the manufacturing base is still a dominant part of the economy.
As far as Kentucky is concerned, Toyota would be a top-of-the-agenda target and thus would probably pick up its operations and move them to Canada or Mexico.
As a former chairman, and still a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce labor policy committee, I can assure you that this is the most potentially damaging piece of proposed union legislation to both the freedom of the individual employee and the health of U.S. productivity to come along in memory.
And how does this possibly affect the transportation industry? From Logistics Management:
"I expect HOS to be revised and perhaps even codified and I would not be surprised to see driving hours reduced to 10 based on a 12 hour work day. (Which means less miles, thus less money. And goods to be delivered at a slower rate.) You should expect to see a mandatory fuel surcharge program and stronger enforcement of the EPA Model Anti-Idling law; and many (not just LTL) trucking companies could become unionized. Lastly, all efforts to improve productivity through Size and Weight, will quietly be put to sleep."
As a little overview of the EFCA, in its current form, once the legislation passes, unions will be able to penetrate the workforce by merely obtaining a simple majority of employee signatures on authorization cards - known as a "card check" process - which substitutes a signature for a secret ballot vote.
One a majority of signed "authorization" cards are obtained and presented to the employer, the union will be entitled to legal recognition as the employees' exclusive bargaining representative. This "system" however, allows for pressuring employees and peers to sign the cards and everyone will know who supported a union and who didn't. And since unions can press employees for their signatures before and after work, during their breaks, at local bars, churches and even at their homes and this could be a problem for those who do not wish to participate.
Also under the proposed legislation, there is a section entitled "Facilitating Initial Collective Bargaining Agreement." Under this section, collective bargaining agreement must begin within 1-0 days and must be reached within 90 days after a demand is made by the union to commence negotiations following a successful card-count. If an agreement is not reached, the parties must submit the negotiation process to mediation.
If no agreement is reached with negotiation after 30 days, then it is sent to a federal arbitration panel. That arbitration panel settles the negotiations by determining the terms of a binding two year agreement, setting wages, benefits, hours, work-rules and all the other terms of employment. When it reaches this level, employees do NOT have a say or a vote on pay, benefits or workplace conditions.
And then there are the Union dues to be paid every week.
First, this means that there will be a major waiting period before the union benefits "happen". It will not happen overnight. And secondly, do you really think that employers who are not "union friendly" will employee those who want the union? No, they will choose for cheaper labor (i.e. illegal) or choose to outsource their work overseas.
And if you say that legitimate large employers don't hire illegal immigrants, well, let me tell you of something that happened to me within the past few days. I was at a local McDonalds, as I have a horrible horrible liking for their vanilla shakes, and overheard two employees talking about one of themselves. One employee was professing that he did not have a social security card, or a social security number, yet this employee was obviously over the age of 18. He then proceeded to tell the other employee how he had gotten a fake social security card. While I stood there listening to their conversation, the manager realized that I was listening and told the two to end their conversation looking at me. Now McDonald's might not be the dream job that everyone thinks of, but its a job, and in this economy where jobs are thin, a job that a legal American might need, it was given to an illegal immigrant by a Fortune 500 company. And this is NOT a lone observation or overheard conversation where I live. And no, this is not going to turn into an immigration post.
Now supposedly Obama supports employer use of the federal E-Verify program and increasing the number of visas allowed (why are we increasing visas when we don't have enough jobs to go around now?), but shares labor concerns that H-1B workers are sometimes used to substitute for American workers and would likely put more restrictions on how employers can use the visas.
The Patriot Employer Act of 2007 is suppose to help stop companies sending jobs overseas by giving tax breaks to companies that keep jobs in the United States, maintaining their corporate headquarters here, pay a certain level of wages, stay neutral during organizing drives, pay at least 60 percent of the healthcare premiums of employees, prepare workers for retirement and support workers who serve in the military. There's only one problem with that. Where are the jobs? If there are no jobs, then there are no employees.
And Obama plans on taxing employers for the new national healthcare program. Under Obama's proposal, employers that don't provide a "meaningful" contribution to their workers health coverage will have to pay the government a percentage of their payroll.
Obama also co-sponsored an act that eliminates caps on compensatory and punitive damaged awarded in discrimination cases. This act would parallel the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, where every time an employee receives a paycheck or pension payment, they can sue for pay discrimination. Obama is a strong supporter of this act.
Obama also plans on increasing the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour and also require employers with at least 15 employees to provide seven paid sick days per year. (Obama co-sponsored the sick days bill.)
So do you REALLY THINK that employers are going to keep jobs in the United States with all these new rules and expenses? Seriously.... Now I am not saying that people are not entitled to these rights however, do you think every company and business in the United States has the money to back all of this up, especially with the significant drop in business and sluggish sales?
Now I'm all for workers rights with fair pay for a fair job done. But forced unions are not going to "fix" the rising unemployment level. All they are going to do is raise the unemployment level, driving major corporations to send jobs overseas to lower costs, and lower hassle. The main point of Congress should NOT be to "fix" unions. It should be to stimulate the economy, stimulate jobs, stimulate spending, and help people, not
the black hole AIG banks out of trouble.
And the only people it seems that will make any money out of this act, will be labor lawyers and union heads. But I could be wrong. Time will tell, if the act and/or acts pass.....
Oh, and one other thing. Pushing for organized workers and unions for all jobs is a trait of socialism. Don't believe me? Check out the Socialist Party USA's, Socialist Party Handbook on "Working Class Unity".