Idgit Watch

Useful Idiot labor lawyer proposes idiotic idea as a “compromise” to Card Check

Posted by danishova on March 21, 2009

Oh Oh.  Time to switch to Decaf. From Sam Hananel of the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – Starbucks Corp. and other companies are exploring alternatives to a bill that would make it easier for workers to unionize, but the idea of any compromise drew the wrath of business groups lobbying furiously to defeat the measure.

Officials at the coffee giant would not discuss exactly what alternatives to the Employee Free Choice Act the companies are considering, but confirmed late Friday that the company is "engaged in dialogue" on the topic.

"We have had conversations with like-minded companies and are open to exploring alternative solutions to the legislation as it is currently written," Starbucks spokeswoman Deb Trevino said.

Let’s review what this is about, in a nutshell:

The labor-friendly bill, one of the most vigorously debated in Congress this year, would take away the right of employers to demand secret-ballot elections by workers before unions could be formed. Instead, unions could gain representation if a majority of workers sign cards authorizing it.

Business groups have mobilized like never before to lobby against the bill — also known as card check — with Congress expected to consider the measure later this summer. Word that one of the most recognizable companies in the nation is even thinking about compromise provoked a wave of outrage from opponents of the legislation.

The sane view of wise men, dedicated to liberty:

Stefan H. Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, called Starbucks’ position "totally unacceptable."

"There can be no compromise whatsoever on the card-check bill," Gleason said. "For any company to cut a deal with big labor is to support passage of card check."

A quick review of Card Check’s history:

The bill passed the House two years ago, but failed to gain 60 votes in the Senate to defeat a GOP filibuster. Labor leaders believe Democratic gains in the last election could give them the votes they need for passage.

Here’s where the Useful Idiot labor lawyer steps in:

While it is not clear what alternatives Starbucks may be considering, Washington labor lawyer Jay Krupin said he has been working with several "service industry" companies — not including Starbucks — to line up support for a possible compromise.

Krupin’s compromise plan — known as the 70-50-30 proposal — would allow employees to organize without a secret ballot if 70 percent of workers sign cards. If only 50 percent sign cards, there would be a quick election within 15 days instead of the usual minimum of 42 days. If just 30 percent of employees sign cards, union officials would be allowed on the company property to garner more support.

Unreal.  Here’s a translation, from The Useful Idiot’s Little Red Book:

It’s okay to take away the secret ballot as long as union thugs are really, really successful in intimidating workers and manage to bully 70 percent of workers into signing these cards under fear and duress, such as by showing up at their homes.  If only 50 percent are bullied into signing cards, the reward will be a super fast-tracked election.  If they only get to 30 per cent, the thugs can intimidate workers at their workplace. Those of you who own businesses can do nothing to stop these people from trespassing on your property, and disrupting your workers as they go about the work you pay them to do.  Whatever compromise is reached, under no circumstances, can workers be permitted to have a secret ballot, because we’ll lose if we do that, and we must force them to unionize… by any means necessary.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, since a recent Rasmussen survey indicated that only 9 per cent of non-union workers want to join a union; 81 per cent do not.  As for Starbucks, if they sign on to a “compromise” which eliminates the secret ballot, they can expect many of us to boycott Starbucks coffee.  Certainly, if I had any Starbucks stock I’d be dumping it in the nearest harbor. 

Meanwhile, there’s always tea and my favorite t- shirt:



Here’s a more recent version of the A.P. story, which adds this detail:

A person familiar with the discussions said the other companies exploring alternatives include food seller Whole Foods Market Inc. and retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. The person spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Got Arugula?


Maybe I’m the idiot, and Jay Krupin isn’t a Useful Idiot?:

It is no coincidence that the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE) is in the forefront of neutrality and card check organizing. Membership in HERE’s Las Vegas local has increased from 18,000 in the late 1980s to over 45,000.

Washington, D.C. labor lawyer Jay Krupin explains that HERE can pressure hotel owners by finding people — either union members or union sympathizers — in the community who live near the future site of a hotel and who are willing to file zoning board objections during the period of public comment and review. Facing costly construction delays, owners often will accept a neutrality agreement in return for the withdrawal of the complaint. Krupin says unions have used these tactics to organize in Las Vegas and Boston, and in Washington, DC as recently as October. In addition to these cities, he says neutrality agreements are also widespread in San Francisco and New Haven.

Considering this prior position, why he thinks his “compromise” solution is the answer is beyond me.  Maybe you have to be a DC labor lawyer to get it.


More on Krupin’s positions on EFCA here, where he goes into more detail about his compromise plan:

Editor: What might a compromise look like?

Krupin: At this point, the unions have taken a very strong line, something that they usually do coming to the negotiating table. The EFCA, in its present form, is unlikely to survive even if the Democrats have 59 seats in the Senate. There will be need for compromise. That compromise might be something like this: if the union presents the company with cards totaling 70 percent of the workforce, there is a possibility that the company will be required to recognize the union because the 70 percent is so far above the 50 percent currently required for recognition. If the union has 50 percent of cards signed, rather than conduct an election with a 42-day campaign as currently required, the campaign may be limited to a 10- or 15-day period with a fair secret ballot election. The compromise results in a shorter period of time for management to get its message out to the workforce, something labor wants, but management does get its secret ballot election. A third aspect of the compromise under review would arise if the union attains 30 percent of the cards. In this circumstance, it would permit the union to come onto the employer’s premises to talk to the employees. This 70/50/30 program is something that corporate counsel should be reviewing with some care, and ensure proper procedures are in place, as we move closer to the passage of the EFCA or some alternative.

Where he is losing me, is with the whole concept of the signed cards. Are these cards signed in secret or in the presence of a union organizer? 


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