I’m sad to say, I’ve never been a big union guy. Its not that I don’t support workers or their right to organize. Quite the opposite actually. Where I grew up, a strong union has always existed so, while I appreciated the need for a strong union I’ve never truly understood why unions are important.
So when labor leaders started pushing for the Employee Free Choice Act, I bought the business communities’ talking points about “abolishing the secret election” hook line and sinker.
But as T.A. Frank explains, not only is the EFCA necessary, its actually a very common sense policy:
Why did Rite Aid take so many chances with the law? Perhaps because it made economic sense. While the company’s actions may have been illegal under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, they were also nearly cost-free.
If a company illegally undermines a union campaign by threatening to fire workers, or by spying on them, or by promising to shut down the facility, the most serious penalty it can expect to face is being ordered to post notices in the workplace promising not to engage in such activities in the future.
If a company illegally fires a worker, and the worker can somehow prove his or her case, the penalty is a requirement to reinstate the employee with back pay—minus whatever the employee has earned elsewhere in the meantime. And if a company negotiates in bad faith, it can perhaps expect an order from the NLRB to start negotiating in good faith. Such punishments are the equivalent of punishing shoplifters by asking them to put the merchandise back.
Read I highly suggest you read the full article to understand the problems workers are facing. One of the best articles I’ve ever read.