With union membership dying in the private sector and challenged in the public sector, it’s no surprise that the unions are trying like hell to reverse the trends and reclaim the power they feel slipping out of their grasp. Not surprising, but certainly worth noting — and objecting to, when they go overboard, as they are wont to do.
For example, they had a hell of a successful “recruiting” drive in Michigan. They managed to corral parents of disabled adult children who get Medicaid for caring for their children. Somehow, they got the parents declared “state employees” and automatically made them members of the SEIU — a status many discovered only when they noticed that they were now being docked $30 a month from those Medicaid checks. Currently, they’re trying to pull the same stunt on child-care workers in Michigan — something I might have mentioned recently.
And then there’s the latest Lewinsky the National Labor Relations Board is trying to bestow on the unions. Currently, the rules for organizing a union are pretty fair: after a petition is submitted to the NLRB, there must be at least five weeks for both sides to make their cases to the workers, and then there is a secret ballot. Sounds pretty fair to me.
But that wasn’t stacked enough for the unions. First, they wanted to get away with the secret ballot and allow it to be bypassed with “card check” — if they could somehow “persuade” a majority of the workers to sign a pledge supporting the unions, the whole secret ballot (and its pesky freedom of workers to express their wishes without fear of being singled out for retaliation) would just go away. That one, somehow, got stopped — but let’s be blunt, it’s gonna come back again.
Now, though, they’re going after another part of that process. They want to cut the “campaign” period from five weeks to less than two. This will give the union organizers (who start their campaigning long before they submit the petition) a major edge, while employers (who often find out about the move well after it’s under way) will have less time to make their case.
Now, it’s arguable whether or not the NLRB has the authority to pass these new rules. By law, it is supposed to have five members, with at least two from each party. Currently, it has three — two Democrats and one Republican. Republicans in Congress have blocked Obama’s attempts to put more Democrats on (one made it in on a recess appointment), and Obama hasn’t bothered to nominate any Republicans. It took a major fight for them to pass a rule saying that they could still pass new rules with only two votes, and now the sole Republican on the Board is apparently threatening to resign — which would most likely (ought to, but there are no guarantees here) bring the NLRB to a screeching halt.
The days of unions are past. It’s been decades since the union leadership cared more about the workers than preserving their own wealth and power. They simply can’t make the case to workers in the private sector that they are worth supporting, and they quite frankly have no business in the public sector. It’s no wonder that they’ve sunk all their money and resources into the Democratic Party, hoping like hell they can get through legal maneuvering and outright chicanery to keep the money flowing into their coffers — by hook or by crook.
Most often, it seems, by crook.