• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Our Economy Does Not Need Creative Coercion

    Imagine the following scenario: After work you and a couple of your co-workers gather at the local pizza joint for a few slices and a beer. They are buying! When you arrive, one of your co-workers puts a “sign in” sheet (see below) under your nose while you are choosing what pizza you want to order. Congratulations! Under the rules of the dishonestly named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), you’ve just voted to unionize your workplace.

    During Monday’s “Consequences of the Employee Free Choice Act” panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation, Rian Wathen, a former organizing director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 700, described how, under EFCA, the above scenario, as well as other methods of “creative organizing,” will be used to pressure or deceive employees into joining a union once they no longer have the protection of a secret ballot.

    Employers routinely refuse to recognize unions on a card-check–only basis because publicly signed cards do not reflect employees’ preferences. Instead, employers overwhelmingly prefer the issue of representation to be decided by secret ballot election. Such an election allows employees to consider both sides of the issue and, consequently, discourages the union from lying or engaging in “creative organizing” just to get a card signed because the worker can later vote “no” once they have had time to reflect on what they signed.
    An employee signature for card-check purposes can be obtained in several ways. For instance, Wathen described how organizers visit employees’ homes and use high-pressure sales tactics, such as the SPIN technique, to extract a signed check card.

    As Mr. Wathen noted, organizers “are promoted by bringing in new dues paying members…the person who brings in most cards, by hook or by crook, is the person who looks productive and gets promoted.” Consequently organizers have one goal: Recruit as many new dues paying union members as possible.

    While the current union-election process can mitigate the effects of high-pressure sales techniques, under EFCA, workers who have been deceived by such “creative” organizing will no longer have an opportunity to gather all the facts and make a truly informed decision regarding union organizing.

    Big Labor, however, continues to insist it supports EFCA because of the alleged need to redress employers’ subversion of the electoral process by intimidating employees. Yet, as Homer L. Deakins, Jr., a shareholder of Ogletree Deakins and another participant in Monday’s discussion, notes, there are “fewer acts of misconduct on the part of management in union elections today than there were back in the days when labor was strong. Labor unions are winning more elections today than they won in the 60s, 70, 80s, or 90s.”

    So what gives? According to Deakins, “Unions aren’t organizing” the way they used to and are no longer willing to the spend money to do so. Of course, why spend money on organizing, if you can simply strong-arm employees through “creative organizing” tactics.

    Click here to watch the event in its entirety.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Our Economy Does Not Need Creative Coercion

    1. eddie , washington, says:


      Mr. O'Donnell's characterization of union organizing is so far removed from reality that it is almost impossible to address. Perhaps, instead of hanging with the clown crew at Heritage, Mr. Ryan should remember that organized labor made this country a better place for people from other countries who had names like Hannity, O'Reiley and O'Donnell.

    2. Steve Washburn, Conn says:


      You are so beholden to the left that you ignore the underlying coercive potential of this legislation. Chucky Schumer and Nan Pelosi don't give a damn about union organization and making this country 'a better place'… their concern is money and power, and they see unions for what they are, a means to an end.

    3. JT kentucky says:

      What a phony this Rian is! No one gets fired or intimidated during a union campaign? Are you serious? Rian you will recall when you were organizing director for Local 700, a man with 15years of employment was fired from the Target distribution center in Indianapolis. The man found himself unemployed for wanting a union while you kicked your feet up on desk and continued to collect $110,000 bucks a year as the worst organizing director in the UFCW.

      You may be able to fool those right wing nuts at the Heritage Foundation but you can't fool those of us who know you.Your claim that only those who bring in money are promoted in the union , is blown out of the water by the fact that you were promoted. You never organized a single person while you were with Local 700 , you know it and I know it.

      For you to portray yourself as some sort of righteous crusader for the truth is also laughable. If you did in fact uncover financial wrong doing at Local 700, why didn't you go to the DOL? I know why. Because , what you really uncovered was an effort to make you get out and do your job by the president of the union.This made you panic, and instead of using the election process to get rid of that president, you believed in your own delusions of superioriority and tried to interpret the union constitution and bylaws "according to Rian". This got you fired, and unfortunatley took a couple of truely talented union reps with you.

      So, Rian, it is sad to see you sitting in the lap of the Heritage Foundation barking when you are told. I just wish that you would have worked as hard back in the day as you seem to be now.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.