A reader writes:
I am a firm Obama supporter and I agree that in the clip you posted he is admirably departing from important elements of the party line on unionization.
However, at the beginning of the clip he talks about his support for the “Employee Free Choice Act.” This Orwellian-named bill would take away the right of workers to secret ballot elections on whether to unionize.
Currently, if a majority of workers in a workplace sign cards saying that they would like to unionize, then the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) organizes an election. Under the proposed bill, if the union gets a majority of workers to sign the cards, then that’s it; the union becomes their sole representative to management and they’re forced to pay dues. This opens the door to union organizers pressuring workers to sign up, while taking away their right to say “no” in a secret ballot. I was targeted by a union organizing campaign. Most of my colleagues signed the cards, but once we had a chance to look carefully at what the union was offering, we voted against unionization in the NLRB election. Had this act been in effect, we’d have been stuck with the union.
It is true that current labor law allows employers to unethically block union drives. The answer to that are stronger penalties against those employers, not taking away from workers the most basic rights of democratic association.
Obama is very wrong on this point. Unfortunately, he’s in good company with both Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party. I voted for Obama in the primaries and desperately hope that he beats Clinton and McCain, but this is one of the areas where he falls down.