Going Negative

There’s an old scheme called the “negative option.” You’ve all seen it — “Congratulations! We’ve given you a membership in our widget club! Every month, we’ll send you a brand-new widget. If you don’t want it, tell us beforehand. If you do, we’ll bill you for it!” It was used mainly for books and music, but was ultimately banned unless the recipient agreed to it beforehand.

These days, we see it most often with spam. “Congrats! You’ve won a membership in our web site! We’ll be sending you ads as frequently as we feel like it, cramming your inbox with our crap to our heart’s content, until you jump through our hoops and ask us nicely to get off our mailing list. And even then, it could take six to eight weeks to process your unsubscribe request — if we even bother to do so.” The spammers got Congress to legalize THAT scumbaggery with the Orwellian-named CAN-SPAM Act.

Anyway, there’s a brand-new application for the negative option now enshrined in law: union organizing.

For over seven decades, the rule was simple: if a work force wanted to unionize, they needed to get the votes of over half the work force. Don’t get 50% of the workers to say yes, no union. Simple, ethical, responsible.

But that didn’t sit well with the unions, because they couldn’t get that 50% plus one as often as they wanted. So they went to the Obama administration and said “look, we bought and paid for you guys. Change that damned rule!”

And they did. Now the unions don’t need a majority of the work force. They need a majority of the work force that votes.

Under the old system, a no-vote” was treated as a “vote for no.” It was presumed that the worker was content with the status quo, and didn’t want any changes. And that makes a great deal of sense.

Now, though, a “no-vote” is counted as what President Obama used to do all the time: a “present” vote.

Gee, I wonder what the chances are that the ballots (or election notices) that are intended for known anti-union workers are misplaced somewhere? Lost before they are sent out, misaddressed, or somehow vanish upon their return before they can be counted? I can’t imagine that happening. It’s inconceivable!

Really, I’m not terribly concerned. After all, these elections will be overseen by representatives of the Obama administration, and they’ve got an absolutely stellar record of acting to ensure fair elections, free of shenanigans or intimidation or other forms of thuggery.

Hat tip: blog-buddy and former Guest Wizbanger Rob Port)

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