Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Jack Welch on Card Check: Bringing the Economy Back to the ’70s

We’re not the only ones sounding the alarm about the absurdly named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would displace the traditional secret ballot in unionization elections in favor of “card check,” a petition-like process which empowers union organizers to approach employees face-to-face for signatures. In his latest podcast on leadership for BusinessWeek, Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric, has this to say about the Employee Free Choice Act and card check:

We know it must sound strange to oppose legislation that promises something as motherhood-y as “free choice.” But the title of this bill is pure propaganda. It won’t encourage liberty or self-determination in the workplace; more likely it will introduce intimidation and coercion by labor organizers, who, after a long slide into near-oblivion, finally see a glorious new route to millions of dues-paying members. Their campaign could trigger a surge in unionization across U.S. industry–and in time, a reversion to the bloated economy that brought America to its knees in the late 1970s and early ’80s and that today cripples much of European business. If you want to be reminded of what that looks like, drive through Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, as we did last weekend, and take a look at all the shuttered factories. Steel–like coal, autos, and so many other industries in the global economy–paid the inevitable price of unionization run amok …

It’s too bad. In fact, it’s terrible. And ironic. First, because the ability to unionize already exists in America, thanks to the secret ballot. And second, because the Employee Free Choice Act ultimately only provides a free choice nobody would ever want: how to spend a government-issued unemployment check.

Click here to download Welch’s podcast.

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