In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2007 / 21 Shevat, 5767

Union Free Choice

By Linda Chavez

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Private sector unions are perilously close to going the way of the dinosaur, but they still have enough teeth to convince Democrats to try to cram through legislation that would imperil workers' free choice.

Union membership among non-government employees now stands at 7.4 percent, its lowest rate in decades. So, the AFL-CIO, its affiliates, and several independent unions are trying to make it easier to force employers to recognize unions as exclusive bargaining agents through legislation.

The misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is now at the top of the new Democrat-controlled Congress' agenda. The legislation would eliminate secret ballot elections for union representation, depriving workers of the right to reject the union without incurring the wrath of union organizers or their fellow workers.

If the EFCA passes this time around — the bill has been introduced in each of the last two Congresses but was held in check by Republicans — it will be a huge boost for unions.

Under current law, an employer can already agree to collective bargaining with the union on behalf of his workers when a majority of them have signed union authorization cards. But if the employer wants to make sure that his workers weren't pressured into signing the cards, or if he wants to try to convince them that they will have more flexibility without a union or even that the union may end up destroying jobs, he can insist on an open campaign period followed by a secret ballot election.

The new bill, on the other hand, would force the employer to recognize the union solely on the basis of cards collected by union organizers, collected before the employer even has a chance to make his case to the employees. What's more, if a worker feels intimidated when approached by the union organizer, he may not feel free to just say no.

Under the current system, an ambivalent worker can sign the card knowing he'll be able to make a truly free choice later through the secrecy of the ballot box. It's the democratic way.

Existing law also protects workers from vindictive employers. Since the ultimate decision of whether workers will be represented by union contract will be up to all employees in a secret ballot election, employers will not be able to punish those employees they think went against them because the secret ballot protects the identities of those who voted for the union.

Whether or not to be represented by a union is a momentous decision that affects not only current workers but future workers of the company. Once the union has been selected to be the sole bargaining agent, it remains so indefinitely, even after all the workers involved in the selection are long gone. The law does provide a mechanism to decertify a union, but the process is long and difficult.

And the decision to choose a union binds even those employees who don't want to join in non-right-to-work states, since even non-members must pay a portion of dues — or agency fees as they're often called — if they're represented by a union contract.

Fewer and fewer workers are choosing unions to represent them in collective bargaining primarily because they see little value in it. Workers represented by union contracts must pay dues amounting to hundreds of dollars a year, which in some cases do not even result in pay and benefit increases to offset the costs of union membership.

What's worse, union dues end up financing political campaigns — without the express consent of the members — as well as lobbying, organizing new members, and paying for huge union bureaucracies with fat paychecks for the unions' own leaders and staff. Of course, these activities have little to do with why workers join unions in the first place, but they do add to the power and leverage unions have over workers' lives, even those who don't happen to be members.

A wise man once said "no lasting gain has ever come from compulsion." He was Samuel Gompers, the founder of the American labor movement. Too bad today's union leaders won't heed his words.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate