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  • Morning Bell: What's the Matter With Free Elections?

    In his 2004 book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” social critic Thomas Frank accuses conservatives of distracting blue-collar Americans from economic issues that matter to them with “the illusory threat of gay marriage.” Let’s stipulate for right now that Frank is right and that the issue of gay marriage is largely irrelevant to the lives of blue-collar workers. Why then, may we ask, is the California Teachers Association (CTA), one of the state’s largest unions, spending $1.25 million of its members’ dues to defeat Proposition 8, an initiative on the California ballot that would define marriage as between a man and a woman? How, pray tell, does Lindsay Lohan’s ability to marry her current girlfriend help California public school children learn?

    The answer is that unions, as they exist today, have nothing to do with protecting the interests of those they supposedly represent. The Wall Street Journal reports: “The CTA and its parent organization, the National Education Association, have used tens of millions of dollars in mandatory teachers’ dues to advance all manner of left-wing political causes. … In some years barely a third of the NEA’s budget has gone toward improving the lot of teachers themselves. In addition to vigorously fighting school choice and other reforms that benefit underprivileged children but threaten the public education monopoly, the NEA has directly (or via state affiliates) bankrolled ACORN, the Democratic Leadership Council, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and, naturally, the Human Rights Campaign.”

    Organized labor has become indistinguishable from the Democratic Party. Union-backed groups have given $52.3 million directly to Democrat campaigns this year and also spent about $6 million on advertisements in close Senate races since Labor Day. Their goal: a permanent leftist majority in Washington. And they may well have identified the tool to realize their dreams — the Orwellian named “Employee Free Choice Act.” This legislation, also known as card check, replaces secret ballot elections — the method by which most workers join unions — with publicly signed union cards. This is a recipe for intimidation and corruption. Just ask 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern:

    As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor. … The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

    Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

    Recent polling shows that 71% of union members believe that the current private-ballot process is fair, versus only 13% who disagree. Fully 78% of union members favor keeping the current system in place rather than replacing it with one that provides less privacy. But union leadership does not care what their members want. They only want more union members and more union dues to funnel into the left’s crony capitalist machine.

    Quick Hits:

    • The U.S. military on Thursday gave Iraqi authorities control of security in most of the “Triangle of Death,” an area south of Baghdad that has seen a dramatic turnaround in violence.
    • The Miami trial of a Venezuelan entrepreneur has exposed the kickbacks, bribes and secret payoffs Hugo Chavez used to spread his leftist ideology to Argentina.
    • The budget deficit may be exploding but EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is wrapping up a 10-day jaunt to the apparently environmentally troubled Holy Land. It’s first such voyage for an EPA chief in 20 years, if not ever.
    • The British government is bringing sex education to kindergarten-age children.
    • According to CNN, a majority of U.S. registered voters don’t think most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Morning Bell: What's the Matter With Free Elections?

    1. William Lulias, St. says:

      As a union representative in Florida under the umbrella of the teamsters, I can speak with authority that the above mentioned poll is correct. The majority of union membership does not want the current mechanism changed for voting. That said, however, it will not help if the current house resolution is passed and organizing non union shops are subject to the undemocratic process it proposes. This card check proposal would undermine all businesses and quite possibly start a migration of businesses to other countries to avoid the cost of union organization. Dangers of this proposal are many especially the elimination of the private ballot process. A ray of hope is that the 71% mentioned in the aforementioned article may also be reflective of the percentage of union members that will be voting repulican this election, at least as far as the members I represent. The story I like to tell, and many older union members agree, is that at one time I voted as a democrat ( Lyndon Johnson era) but they (the democrats) drifted so far left that I landed way right of their ideaology.

      Never forget the US Constitution is the US Constitution, hard work in whatever endeavor or profession is expected and respected and the good works of charity and helping the less fortunate comes from our churches, religious organizations or charitable organizations, not the government or unions.

    2. Ken Jarvis says:

      Why isn't the HF reporting on Newspaper Endorsements?

      127 Newspapers have endorsed Obama

      and ONLY 49 – for McCain.

      So far, 27 that went for Bush

      are now for Obama.

      ONLY 4 that went for Kerry are for McCain.

      WHY ISN'T THE HF reporting THAT?

    3. D Schulte, Spokane says:

      According to CNN, a majority of U.S. registered voters don’t think most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.

      You've got to be kidding!

      This is the reason CNN is no longer a news organization but an arm of the socialist Democratic Party.

    4. Kristi, CO says:

      It truly makes me sick that a portion of my husbands paycheck, because his company is union, goes to the corruption of the union to begin with and then they give donations to the democratic party. Grrrr! Not to mention the teachers union. School reform needs to start with throwing out the union and giving curriculum an overhaul. Not indoctrination of gay rights but basic learning. Let the family decide their views on such matters. The schools have no business teaching sex at all. We parents were givin the resposiblity to teach our children, yes about sex and homosexuality and everything else they learn. When we give away our rights to teach them then look what creeps in and takes over. Everyone knows full well when liberals get into the minds of our children they will be able to run society through what they teach them. Most parents don't bother to find out what is being taught to their kids and don't care or feel the moster is too big. At least do your best to reteach the wrong taught to them at school. It is vital to the future of our country because the young will be running it someday.

    5. Charles Reid, Schert says:

      Sir: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's home district

      > includes San Francisco.

      >

      > > Star-Kist Tuna's headquarters are in San Francisco,

      > Pelosi's home district.

      >

      > > > Star-Kist is owned by Del Monte Foods and is a major

      > contributor to Pelosi.

      >

      > > Star-Kist is the major employer in American Samoa

      > employing 75% of the Samoan workforce.

      >

      > > Paul Pelosi, Nancy's husband, owns $17 million dollars

      > of Star-Kist stock.

      > In January, 2007 when the minimum wage was increased from

      > $5.15 to $7.25, Pelosi had American Samoa exempted from the

      > increase so Del Monte would not have to pay the higher wage.

      > This would make Del Monte products less expensive than

      > their competition's.

      > Last week when the huge bailout bill was passed, Pelosi

      > added an earmark to the final bill adding $33 million

      > dollars for an "economic development credit in American

      > Samoa".

      >

      Pelosi says ..Republicans are corrupt ..

      If she voted on it, that's a conflict of interest! She's just Arregant enough! Go get her!

    6. Danny Grimes says:

      Dear Morning Bell:It is clear Without representation ther should be no taxation. I didn't say that- it is how America is set up.! There should be no double standard for the American people. The USSR has a committee of one hundred planning people. Why is it the elected officials that are supposed to protect us contenue to sell, us down the road.!If They think the offices, they hold can prevent an attack from a foreign enemy is not going to have reprocussions on double standards, and outright treason- just wait. When Hunger stricks, and Children Cry – along with disease, and now shelter- i for one believe in America-I don't believe in Tyranny.

    7. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Unions are way past their time. If they enact the card check system, it will accelerate departure of American and Foreign businesses from America, spreading poverty. If you think it can't happen here, think again. We are in debt up to our eyeballs and foreign investment capital has been keeping us afloat. When the Toyota's and Honda's of the world move out of USA because of the Union imposed paid idleness and harassment, American vehicle production will be cut-loss of jobs. Look at Detroit for confirmation. I am waiting for the day when GM says that they are closing most of the remaining plants in the US and move offshore. Their oversees business is really doing well. Their domestic business is a drag.

      You couple the Union move with punishing taxation in the offing and then face the debt and spending spiraling out of control in Washington and State governments, in 20 years or less we will be a third-world country!

    8. Matthew, CA says:

      This article is factually inaccurate. In California, union members can demand that their dues NOT be used for political purposes. The union is not stealing employees' money. Unions operate following democratic principles and dues-paying members are free to vote on major issues. This trend to complain without the complete facts is nothing more than union bashing.

      The pro-Proposition 8 camp is simply misrepresenting the facts and making outright lies. Teachers will not be forced to read books like The King and The King to students and parents always have the right to withdraw their students from family education discussions. These same tired arguments have been used against miscegenation (interracial marriage) and civil rights. The story remains the same but the characters have been changed. Bigotry is alive and well.

      Before you start making all those Biblical arguments, many Christians like to claim that Jesus came to deliver a new law and threw out the Old Testament. That's why you can eat pork, wear cotton-poly blends, or sleep with your wife while she is menstruating. So if you throw out the OT, *all* the old laws are gone, including Leviticus. If homosexuality were such a huge issue, why was Jesus completely silent on the subject?

    9. Duke Lynch CA says:

      Biden uses the allegory of a Duck that is a Duck…why the hesitancy of calling Obama and Obama's supporters actively supporting Socialism replacing Democracy in America. For God's sake, and I do not take his name irreverently, get the RPC, Fox News and every body else telling it like it is…now! Tempus Fugit…Dkl Redding, CA

    10. dave schraub, indian says:

      unions were needed when they were first started, now they are an arm of the political machine, as for following democratic principles, i knew they were lying because democrats don't have principles. the union is not a business, it does not manufacture anything, it can only generate revenue thru members dues. the members are blind to what there dues are spent on. most members are told who to vote for because the union agenda is to build membership to build revenue. if you don't believe this, just look at the parallel between the union and the democratic run government. to redistribute the wealth, you must first conviscate it.

    11. Barb - mn says:

      The job of union in a private company is to protect the employees from corruption. The job of government unions promote nothing more then corruption. Get rid of government unions. It only shows how deviant and dishonest members of government are. And will continue to be as long as government has unions to back them.

    12. Jay, VA says:

      How do opponents of the EFCA reconcile the fact that the majority of threats and intimidation against employees come from employers and not unions? These cases have been indisputably verified by the NLRB. To say that over 25 percent of employees face threats and intimidation from their employers during a campaign would not be an overstatement given the overwhelming number of documented cases which have come before the NLRB? I am always open to fair and honest discussion on any matter, but these negative assertions against EFCA are highly disingenuous when exposed to the illuminating light of facts and reality, as they exist for employees of many companies. Obviously, to say that this is always the case would not be a truthful statement, but there is no doubt that employer threats and intimidation are the norm and not the exception in a disproportionate amount of situations.

      As for the woman in Colorado who is sick about her husband having to pay union dues, I suggest she encourage her husband to perform a card check with other employees and see if a majority of the employees would like to decertify the union. I am sure the company would have no problem accepting the card check to decertify. They never do. It is only a problem if employees want to have the same rights as the company with which to certify a union. I do, however, recommend that she be careful what she wishes for. Her husband might actually succeed in decertifying the union, at which some point in the future, she may be suprised to find out that the money he ends up losing in lower wages and benefits as a result of working non-union is far greater than the amount he ever paid in union dues.

    13. Dave Norman, Toledo, says:

      I totally agree with Dave from Indiana.

    14. Rick Finamore, Ponte says:

      Union leadership does not care what their members want. They are just are in it for the free ride.

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