What about choice?
Congratulations to columnist John Brummett. He managed to write an entire column criticizing the proposed Employee Free Choice Act without ever mentioning the words, employee free choice. That proves he's a clever writer, but he certainly doesn't understand the proposed legislation (or is deliberately trying to mislead his readers).
First of all, Employee Free Choice would do much more than make it possible for workers to be able to organize a union without fear and intimidation. It would also for the first time impose meaningful penalties on corporations — like Wal-Mart — that harass and discharge their employees when they seek union protection. It also would call for federal mediation and third-party arbitration in order to permit newly organized workers to achieve a first labor contract. Today, nearly half of newly organized workers never get a contract because corporations can stall negotiations forever.
Brummett states, “if there is rampant abuse by employers of workers during the election period we need tougher regulatory and prosecutorial climate.” This doesn't make sense because there are no “tough” regulations or laws to enforce against corporations who abuse their employees. Corporations like Wal-Mart that are found guilty of abusing their workers simply must post a notice at work for a few days stating they won't do it again. Until the next time, that is.
He goes on to state that the legislation would not remove “in theory” the right of employees to have a secret ballot election if they wish rather than choosing a union by signing up a majority of the employees on union cards. I suggest he read the act itself and he will find that employees will have the right “in practice” to choose a secret ballot under this law, rather than allowing corporations the unilateral right as they have now to make that choice.
He concludes by stating “you can be pro-union without wanting unions to reap an inappropriate advantage.” You can also be pro-union-busting by continuing the one-sided, corporate-dominated legal procedures we have now which have led to the lowest unionization rate of any democracy in the world here in the United States.
The Employee Free Choice Act would help level the playing field by fulfilling the promise of the National Labor Relations Act — which EFC would amend — adopted by Congress under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.
No more Dems
I have been a Democrat all my adult life, but will never again vote Democratic due to their mean-spirited and unnecessary attacks on smokers. Since they raised the cigarette tax at the state and federal level to a ridiculous amount I will also no longer make political contributions to Democratic candidates. Actually, I will be saving money, and the Democratic Party will be paying the increased cigarette tax, because I will use the money I previously donated to them to pay the taxes.
Also, you will no doubt soon see press releases from Arkansas's “health Nazis” talking about how successful the new cigarette tax has been in reducing smoking in Arkansas. What they will fail to report is that there is actually no reduction in the number of people smoking, or in the number of cigarettes being smoked in Arkansas, just a reduction in the number of cigarettes being PURCHASED in Arkansas. A large percentage of smokers in Arkansas live within a 30- to 45-minute drive of one of our border states where they can purchase cigarettes for substantially less. For me, the good news is smokers are purchasing their cigarettes at outlets where they don't have to pay Arkansas's ridiculous tax, and non-smoking Arkansans will soon be paying substantially increased taxes to fund the state-wide trauma system and other “health-related” pie in the sky programs promised by Governor Beebe to get enough votes to punish us smokers.
North Little Rock
We Arkansans did not cast our Electoral College votes for President Obama, but the nation as a whole did. He is our commander-in-chief in a crisis that threatens our national economic security. The president asks for and deserves our support in making essential systemic change to address the current crisis, energy independence, global climate change, and healthcare reform.
Will posterity hail us as having courageously risen to the signal challenges of our time or condemn us for shrinking from our responsibilities? Will we make necessary sacrifices and investments to set our nation on the path to recovery or will we procrastinate and whine that this mess isn't our fault or that it costs too much? How much is securing our children's future worth?
Timidity, partisan politics, avarice, selfishness, inertia - these are our enemies. We must defeat them if we are to earn the approbation of future generations. Tell Senators Lincoln and Pryor and your U.S. representative that you support the president and his plan for the future and that you expect them to do so as well.