Playing the populism card -- which I'm sure doesn't suggest that the McHomes line of attack is working -- John McCain and Sarah Palin have been telling audiences that she and her husband are folk who work with their hands! And they've got yoonyin cards.
Given Sarah and her husband are members of the house of labor, no doubt she and McCain will do something real mavericky and call out Bush for apparently planning to eliminate card check union organizing at government contractors.
The Bush administration is weighing an executive order that would eliminate a union-preferred method of labor organizing at large government contractors, according to people familiar with the situation.
Labor leaders prefer a card-check system in which workers can form a union if a majority of them sign a union-authorization card. Companies generally prefer a secret-ballot election.
The issue has become a factor in some Senate races and the presidential campaign. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, supports legislation favoring the card-check approach. Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, opposes such legislation.
The executive order would require large government contractors to use secret-ballot elections for union organizing or risk losing government contracts, say people familiar with the order. Though companies typically prefer secret ballots, some are willing to accept card checks to avoid a fight.
Isn't this a case of big gummint telling companies how to run their businesses? How is that conservative?
Anyway, Charlie Sykes et al have been whinging on the threat of card check, claiming the "secret-ballot election" is the only protection for people who otherwise might get stomped by Teamster thugs.
This concern for democracy would be a wee bit more compelling if Sykes et al didn't endorse Republican strategies here and across the country to suppress the minority vote.
Because it's not "union goons" that pose a threat to workers during organizing drives. It's companies that actively fire, usually without consequence, workers exercising their constituional right to organize. From BusinessWeek:
For union advocates, EFCA is the No. 1 legislative priority because they say the current union election system favors employers. Employers have access to workers on the job while unions can only contact them off-site. According to research conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, 91% of employers require employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors during union organizing drives. It also found that when faced with organizing efforts, 30% of employers fire pro-union workers, 49% threaten to close the worksite, and 51% of employers coerce workers into opposing unions with bribery or favoritism.
Other academic studies support these findings. Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor studies education at Cornell University, says employer intimidation to discourage unionization is the norm rather than the exception. "One thing that stands out in the research is how routine this all is," she says. "These elections haven't been free or fair in the 20 years I have studied them. During an organizing drive, the workplace is a totally coercive environment; workers are not making a free choice."
Research shows that fear of employer retaliation is one of the main reasons workers don't join a union, so EFCA's protections could clear the way for more union wins. "There are always eulogies about the labor movement," says Clete Daniel, a Cornell University history professor. "But while it's been battered, the idea of workplace democracy has not been drained of its last ounce of vitality."