Feb 20, 2009

Sign the Card


Two years ago the sewing workers at Tama Manufacturing picketed, wanting more than the $18 per hour average salary. Tama has now closed the doors; it was one of the last of the needle trade businesses to still operate in the Lehigh Valley. Those same workers now will be lucky to find a job at K-Mart, paying $9 an hour. Perhaps nothing more symbolizes the disconnect between people and reality than The Employee Free Choice Act. At a time when every American manufacturer is struggling to justify continuing production, unions will be able to organize without respecting the workers right to a private vote. The "card check" procedure will allow unions to form by collecting a simple majority of signed cards. A union had a full time presence in Allentown for over ten years trying to organize CedarBrook, the county nursing home, which the workers rejected by vote time and time again. Donny "Union" Cunningham allowed a card check immediately upon assuming office, opening the back door for the unwanted intruder. Allentown is full of former sewing factories being turned into apartments, but where will the jobs be to pay the rent? The above picture is of three union representatives from the movie "On The Waterfront". Playing the characters are retired heavyweight boxers Tony Galento, Tami Mauriello and my cousin, Abe Simon. If they asked you to sign, you would say "Where's the pen? "

CORRECTION: The average hourly rate at Tama was $10.50

11 comments:

LVCI said...

Rather then blabber on.. I've commented on this as well. Here's My view on this: "Employee Free Choice Act " (Thursday, February 19, 2009)
http://lehighvalleyclanculariusintrospective.blogspot.com/2009/02/employee-free-choice-act.html

Anonymous said...

MM, it's not just the secret ballot issue, it's also the binding arbitration provision that has the potential to kill companies. This is just bad legislation.

It provides a strong incentive for me as a small businessman to either keep my company small (under 15 employees so the law doesn't apply) or move it off-shore. To keep my company small I'll use contract labor so I have fewer employees on my payroll and lower benefit costs. If the contract labor doesn't get benefits, well that's not my problem. But my employees do.

I'd love to hear the union side - please talk facts, not 'level the playing field' or other words that don't explain anything. Is there something in the NLRA that needs to be fixed so we don't have to fight this one out?

The Banker

Anonymous said...

I just think everyone should get more pay, what’s the harm in that, by the way, when will Obama nationalize the stock market and make it go higher.


Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

In your comparison to Cedarbrook you neglect to tell about how poorly employees were treated. For years the full time employees wanted to unionize to counter the way the count treats them but always lost in the vote because the per diem employees who worked twice a month with no medical insurance (because they had it elsewhere)would vote it down. I am not a supporter of the employee free choice act, it gives the unions too much. But many employers should and can treat employees better. Happy employees rarely want to unionize. I better solution to the employer free choice act would be a compromise bill.

michael molovinsky said...

anon, it has been my experience that often things are said on blogs anonymously, with great authority, but are not true. it is a fact that for over ten years the employee's voted down the union, and it succeeded only under a card count. i would think if the workers were so unhappy, so long, a vote would have passed. i will however, endeavor to check out your allegation

Anonymous said...

Mike,

The secret ballot has always been the American way. It provides freedom from duress. The reason the unions want card check is because it will allow them to more directly (strong arm?) influence the voting. All involved in pushing for passage of this should be ashamed. Welcome to the new Democrat America.


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Scott, while I agree w/ you on the secret ballot piece, the binding arbitration issue is as much a concern.

My fear is the compromise reached here is that the secret ballot goes but binding arbitration stays. That's not good as the baseline for arbitration will be the existing comp structure - therefore, an employer's costs are going to go up, it's just a matter of how much. Also, binding arbitration kicks in after 120 days, which means a government arbitrator will then set compensation levels at a privately held company. That's abhorrent to me. And if it happens, you're absolutely right - welcome to the new Democrat America.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Banker,

Allentown Police contract. I agree.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Banker,

During and after the binding arbitration decision that shackled Allentown and its future to the disastrous police contract several prominent Republicans approached our elected state officials and asked for relief. The message was; perhaps it was too late to reverse Allentown’s situation but at least change the legislation to prevent a reoccurrence in another Pennsylvania municipality. They refused; it was no surprise that Democrat Jenn Mann would do nothing but people had some expectation Republican State Senator Pat Browne would get involved. He came right out and said he would lose his next election if he took on the FOP and binding arbitration. This is exactly what is wrong with today’s politicians, it is all about their careers rather than public service.


Scott Armstrong

ron pizarie said...

Since you decided to use Cedarbrook and Tama as examples for your anti-union rant, I think, out of fairness and factuality, you should go to Cedarbrook and select at least 50 unionized employees at random and ask them their opinion of being in a union. You can also do the same with former Tama workers and ask them if they feel in any way their unionization had anything to do with the plant closing. The sad truth is that in this country the only way that average hourly workers can improve their lot is through collective bargaining (unionization) with their employer or through increases in the minimum wage. The unionization process certainly does not guarantee any success in that endeavor, but does provide the opportunity. It has always fascinated me that the average working american will gladly pay for insurance to guard against catastropic loss (auto, home, health, etc.) but goes to work in a non-union environment where they can be terminated for any reason, or no reason, as long as his/her civil rights were not violated )sex, race, religion, etc.). This is especially true in Pa. where "Employment at will" is the law which means an employer can hire you for any or no reason and can fire you for any and no reason. I'm also surpised at how many workers are unaware of this law. Whether you care to admit it or not, it was the unionized work forces of our forefathers who brought benefits, higher wages and dignity to the workplace for the average hourly worker. Something else to think about is that even highly skilled and educated workers such as airline pilots, teachers, etc. feel a need to be in a union, and - without any intimidation from the thugs you mention - gladly ask: "Where's the pen?"

michael molovinsky said...

ron, i don't have a problem with unions, my problem is with the card check system. had cedarbrook workers voted to unionize anytime during the previous twenty years and elections, i'd be fine with it.