The anti-business Chamber

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce … anti-business? Yes. it’s true.
“On March 9-10, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce will take a delegation of Virginia business leaders to Washington D.C. to participate in the ‘Workforce Freedom Airlift,’ an anti-Card Check campaign sponsored by the U.S. Chamber,” began the propaganda piece in my e-mail in-box this morning.

Here we go again with the misdirections and misrepresentations and outright lies from the blue-blazer community about the Employee Free Choice Act, which the suits have been shouting to the hills will somehow harm workers by eliminating secret-ballot elections on union representation.

“The bill would deny employees the opportunity to vote in private when deciding whether to have a union in their workplace,” as the propaganda piece from the Virginia Chamber related this morning.

Except that the Act wouldn’t eliminate secret-ballot elections on union representation as they claim. The way the National Labor Relations Act is written now, an employer can demand a secret-ballot election even if a majority of employees has signed cards authorizing a representative to bargain on their behalf, also known as a card-check election. The Employee Free Choice Act simply gives employees the final say in whether or not they want a secret-ballot election.

That’s one fact that the anti-business foes in the Chamber of Commerce set either can’t get a grasp on, and I believe that to be the case with our local talking heads, or just want to use as a cover for their real motives, as I suspect is the case at the state and national Chamber level.

“Instead,” the Virginia Chamber piece continued its misstatements of facts, “employees could be subject to various pressure tactics by union representatives to sign cards approving a union.”

Point of clarification – the Employee Free Choice Act would allow an employer to dispute the legitimacy of an employee representative if less than a majority of employees have signed authorization cards, or if illegal coercion is alleged.

So the Employee Free Choice Act still offers protections to employers and thus by extension employees through that mechanism, and it still allows workers to decide whether they want to hold a card-check election or regular secret-ballot action when deciding on union representation.

What is the controversy here, then? It should be obvious. Right now, employers hold all the cards in matters involving union organizing, but under the Employee Free Choice Act the balance of power would shift to employees by giving them the power to decide the manner in which they vote on union representation. And we all know what happens when workers are able to organize and bargain collectively with employers on their own behalf. Their wages go up, their benefits go up, and the way our economy works, with the overemphasis that we have in our macroeconomy on consumer spending, goods are purchased, services are used, and our economy purrs like a newly tuned-up engine.

I am familiar with the tired arguments from the suits and their ideological allies in the country-club section of the Republican Party that say that the cost of higher wages to employers are passed on to consumers and that ends up hurting the economy and blah blah blah blah. Their supply-side theories that advocate the rich-getting-richer as the foundation of sustainable long-term economic growth have long since been shown as folly, and honestly, do they really want to risk conjuring up the images of multimillion-dollar bonuses that have been going out to failed CEOs as buttresses to their case in this day and age?

Because that’s what this comes down to. Does American business value the contributions of the men and women on the front lines who not only give the majority of their waking hours to producing the goods and services that make the U.S. economy what it is, but then spend the majority of their hard-earned dollars buying them and keeping our economy moving forward?

I have to ask the question, because as it stands, it appears to me that the Chamber of Commerce demographic is clearly more interested in protecting a status quo that is decidedly anti-worker and therefore anti-economic sustainability.

 

– Story by Chris Graham

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