Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Second stimulus (jobs) bill a job killer

Today's Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation explains why the second stimulus bill (disguised as a jobs bill) will be a job killer:
The Las Vegas Sun reported this weekend that big labor leaders are pushing to include their long-sought “card check” provisions into Obama’s Second Stimulus. This legislation would effectively end a worker’s right to fight unionization through secret ballot elections, would give the federal government the power to run small businesses and would cost the American economy thousands of jobs.

The other major provisions of Obama’s second stimulus are also job killers. The $5,000 new worker tax credit does not create any incentive for already-struggling companies to begin long-term hiring. What’s worse, it could even increase unemployment; companies would delay existing plans to create jobs so they could take advantage of the tax credit. And it would add to our national debt. Then there’s the TARP-funded government-subsidized loans for small businesses. It’s a big-government program destined to fail since the Small Business Administration has a terrible record of effectively allocating capital to the private sector.
The card check bill, with the risible name Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would deprive employees of a secret ballot vote when considering whether to join a union.  But James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation asserts that the bill would also circumvent the collective bargaining process and give unfettered power to the federal government in the private sector workplace:
EFCA replaces good faith bargaining with government imposed contracts. Under Section 3 of the act (misleadingly titled "Facilitating Initial Collective Bargaining Agreements"), EFCA provides that—after unions organize a business—the company has 10 days to meet with union officials to begin collective bargaining. After 90 days of bargaining, either party may request mediation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Thirty days later, if the parties have not settled on a contract or agreed to extend negotiations, the FMCS

shall refer the dispute to an arbitration board established in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Service. The arbitration panel shall render a decision settling the dispute and such decision shall be binding upon the parties for a period of two years, unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties.[1]
This government-imposed arbitration radically departs from the foundation of the collective bargaining process: the principle of mutual consent. In place of the agreement of both parties, government arbitrators would simply impose working conditions on both employers and employees, whether such conditions are workable or not.
Sherk concludes:
EFCA does more than take away workers rights to vote in privacy. It also gives control of the workplace to government bureaucrats. Government officials would write the collective bargaining agreements of most newly organized companies. The government would set not just wages and benefits but all business operations that significantly affect workers, such as promotion procedures, retirement plans, health benefits, subcontracting, mergers, work assignments, even the machines used to run a plant. Employers would lose the ability to pursue their business strategies, and workers would lose all say about their workplace for two years. EFCA effectively constitutes a government takeover of America's workplaces.
Organized labor lost 10% of its members in the private sector in 2009 and lost its 60-vote union friendly Democratic supermajority in the Senate last month. Labor leaders are desperate to enact card check provisions which would make it easier to organize unions, and reverse the decline in union membership and influence.  The Republicans would be wise to keep a close eye on the fine print in the stimulus/jobs proposals that will emerge in the coming weeks and months.  They would also be wise to just say no.

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