A post I did back on June 23, 2009 on Why Unions are Bad for Companies, Employees and Customers has raised some hackles (click here for the meaning of this idiom) with some readers. So before I talk about stealth EFCA I wanted to respond to their comments. First, my complaint is with unions as an institution, not union workers. Yeah some are lazy jerks who game the system, but I can find those kind of people in most non-union firms too. But unions as an organization I don’t like. Secondly, I have worked in a union environment. Not as a union worker but as the HR guy that had to deal with them and helped eventually decertify them. So I do know what it is like to have a union around. Thirdly, I am entitled to my opinion it is MY BLOG. It is not a newspaper. I express my opinion in addition to informing my readers. You also stated your opinion(s), not necessarily fact. One of you did it rather rudely. So we are in the same boat. Fouth, what the hell does a bad CEO in China have anything to do with anything? I didn’t get that one.
Ok, enough of my response onto STEALTH EFCA, also known as the Patriot Corporations of America Act of 2009. Attorney Randy Coffey, writing for KansasCity.com, in a commentary entitled Proposal Puts Too Much Power in Union’s Hands states that “…the Patriot Corporations of America Act of 2009, deserves particular focus because it would greatly increase the success of union-organizing drives. Further, if the legislation includes a card-check feature rather than allowing employees to vote for or against a union by secret ballot, it would achieve the Employee Free Choice Act’s key provision through the regulatory process.”
This act has a number of provisions for companies to show their “loyalty to the United States”, such as:
- Produce at least 90 percent of its goods and services in the United States.
- Pay its highest-paid manager no more than 10,000 percent more than lowest-paid full-time employee.
- Conduct at least 50 percent of its research and development within the United States.
- Contribute at least 5 percent of its payroll to a portable pension fund for employees.
- Pay at least 70 percent of its employees’ health insurance costs.
- Provide full differential salary and insurance benefits for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called to active duty.
- Violate no federal workplace regulations, including those relating to the environment, workplace safety, labor relations and consumer protection.
Some of these may sound reasonable, though not all, but the one BIG GOT YA is the provision that requires that a company Maintain a policy of neutrality in employee organizing drives. As Mr. Coffey points out “If management’s voice is silenced before and during a unionization attempt, unions will be able to campaign openly and employees will lose a vital information source that might have provided them with good reasons not to unionize. Without organized opposition, the union win rate approaches 90 percent, as compared with about 65 percent when management is able to present its views.” Coffey goes on to warn “Patriot Corporation status may appear to be a compelling tool for growth-oriented corporations looking to gain a marketing advantage. But touting the designation also will make these companies easy targets for union organizers, who will be watching for those that have exchanged their freedom to oppose union organization for Patriot Corporation status. Even if companies are quiet about the designation, unions may be able to secure target lists directly from the Department of Labor if the certification process is public record.”
So do not be wooed by the tax savings. What you may save in taxes may cost you in other areas, such as healthcare for employees (Stealth healthcare reform) and in the costs associated with dealing with unions. If you have any doubt what those costs are read the post I referenced above. You may opt to sign on, but at least make an informed decision. For one thing, signing on for this will broadcast to unions that you are an easy target.