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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sen. Specter's Comments on "Card Check"

Senator Arlen Specter made news yesterday by saying he would not vote for "card check" because of both the elimination of the secret ballot and the bind arbitration provisions. Here is Specter's statement, along with his recommendations for changes to the National Labor Relations Act.

A couple things trouble me in Specter's remarks - the first being that "middle class needs to be strengthened through more power to unions in their negotiations with business" and that unions "have suffered greatly from outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries and losses in pension and health benefits."   The notion that the middle class is suffering is a fallacy  and if the middle class is "disappearing", it is because they are becoming richer (also see ReasonTV's Drew Carey on this topic).  And jobs haven't been lost to foreign countries so much as other states - specifically states with greater worker freedom and right-to-work laws

Second, Specter states that "I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy."  This is troubling, given that he accepts that card check would cost jobs and hurt the economy - I don't understand why such bad economic policy is acceptable in non-recessions.

Brad Vasoli also has an article on the economics of card check in the Bulletin - I will quote him quoting me:

Mr. Benefield also said policymakers should be mindful of the downward pressures unionization can exert on employment. But he does not believe unionization is uniformly bad. He said labor organizations should be allowed to represent any private-sector staff that wishes to be represented, but only if no one is forced into membership and workers can choose a union without coercion.
More info on card check

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