Unmasking Union Ugliness

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Labor unions, like the United Nations, are all too often judged by what they are envisioned as being — not by what they actually are or what they actually do.

Many people, who do not look beyond the vision or the rhetoric to the reality, still think of labor unions as protectors of working people from their employers. And union bosses still employ that kind of rhetoric. However, someone once said, “When I speak I put on a mask, but when I act I must take it off.”

That mask has been coming off, more and more, especially during the Obama administration, and what is revealed underneath is very ugly, very cynical and very dangerous.

First there was the grossly misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act” that the administration tried to push through Congress. What it would have destroyed was precisely what it claimed to be promoting — a free choice by workers as to whether or not they wanted to join a labor union.

Ever since the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, workers have been able to express their free choice of joining or not joining a labor union in a federally conducted election with a secret ballot.

As workers in the private sector have, over the years, increasingly voted to reject joining labor unions, union bosses have sought to replace secret ballots with signed documents — signed in the presence of union organizers and under the pressures, harassments or implicit threats of those organizers.

Now that the Obama administration has appointed a majority of the members of the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB leadership has imposed new requirements that employers supply union organizers with the names and home addresses of every employee. Nor do employees have a right to decline to have this personal information given out to union organizers, under NLRB rules.

In other words, union organizers will now have the legal right to pressure, harass or intimidate workers on the job or in their own homes, in order to get them to sign up with the union. Among the consequences of not signing up is union reprisal on the job if the union wins the election.

But physical threats and actions are by no means off the table, as many people who get in the way of unions have learned.

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  • Ken

    Insightful and informative as always, Dr. Sowell. Watch out business owners!! Big Labor and Big Government are coming for you!!

  • davarino

    Corruption from the top down. Smoke and mirrors is the only way these people win. Lying and cheating by any means. Its not just unions. The only way these guys stay in business is the government aiding and abetting. One hand feeds the other with union dues and government contracts.

  • kafir4life

    One simple change would be the absolute END of unions. Make the unions bill their members instead of forcing employers to take the forced payments out of paychecks. When the members get their monthly bill, they will look at it on the pile with their food bill, their utility bills, their mortgage, their car payments, and push the union to the bottom of the list (after all, the union can't take their car, can't take their house, and won't buy food for their kids). In the interest of full disclosure, I was in three unions before I aquired skills that gave me the ability to negotiate for myself from "knowledge" rather than negotiate thru thuggery and threats. One of the unions I belonged to (a psuedo gov't transportation agency in NY State (NFTA)) said right out that THEY ran the company, NOT the company. They meant it.

  • kafir4life

    Also, I avoid union made goods and services whenever possible. It's the same as giving money to organized crime, and to crooked demonicrat politicians such as Stinky, Dingy, Cheesy and Beads (BO, Harry, Chuckles, and Nanc)

  • Pyeatte

    Message to union organizers and bosses: You are filthy pigs in the worst sort of way.

  • pagegl

    Support right to work laws.