The Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus sums up the situation in the House of Representatives as it pertains to Republican legislative interest in job creation: “They’re more interested in pillaging and waging cultural war on women, children and organized labor. So instead of proposing bills addressing issues that would generate jobs, well, they’re going after their pet peeves instead.”
Perhaps it is time to return for a reminder about what creates JOBS. Unless one subscribes to the Trickle-Down-Supply-Side-Hoax of the century, 5000 years of economic history says that DEMAND for goods and services creates economic growth. It’s been stated countless times herein, in a variety of ways, that the business which bases its hiring decisions on marginal tax rates and the reduction of regulatory oversight isn’t long for this economic world. There is one, and only one, sane reason for hiring more employees — the company has more work to do than can be accomplished by the current work force.
Policies which exacerbate the hyper-concentration of wealth in the upper reaches of income earners is counter-productive to the stated goal of overall economic growth. The Republican rising tide works only for the yachts, the rowboats find themselves beached. What’s draining the water from underneath the average Americans in their row boats?
Republican War on Organized Labor: While there are economic impacts, the GOP perspective is entirely political, GOP guru Grover Norquist has made this abundantly clear: “We plan to pick up another five seats in the Senate and hold the House through redistricting through 2012. And rather than negotiate with the teachers’ unions’ and the trial lawyers and the various leftist interest groups, we intend to break them.” [PRB]
Those “various leftist interest groups” are unions, consumer organizations, environmental advocates, and public interest groups who do not believe that allowing corporations free rein to extract maximized profits at minimal expense is the cogent way to grow an economy. It ought to be obvious to anyone who has made it through high school economics that the less money average Americans have in their pockets, the less demand is created for goods and services. Breaking unions which seek better wages and working conditions for the short-term benefit of corporate America, while politically expedient is economically counter-productive.
All this is obviously lost on the Republicans in the House of Representatives. H.R. 2153 (see more at NRDC) “would amend the National Labor Relations Act to protect employer rights by allowing them the right to refuse to hire workers who would be sympathetic to organizing efforts.” That’s right — a person could be refused employment based on a prospective employer’s impression that the person might hold positive views about unions.
The “findings” section of the bill is particularly unsettling for anyone who believes in individual liberty and freedom of thought and expression:
“(1) An atmosphere of trust and civility in labor-management relationships is essential to a productive workplace and a healthy economy.
(2) The tactic of using professional union organizers and agents to infiltrate a targeted employer’s workplace, a practice commonly referred to as `salting’ has evolved into an aggressive form of harassment not contemplated when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted and threatens the balance of rights which is fundamental to our system of collective bargaining.
(3) Increasingly, union organizers are seeking employment with nonunion employers not because of a desire to work for such employers but primarily to organize the employees of such employers or to inflict economic harm specifically designed to put nonunion competitors out of business, or to do both.
(4) While no employer may discriminate against employees based upon the views of employees concerning collective bargaining, an employer should have the right to expect job applicants to be primarily interested in utilizing the skills of the applicants to further the goals of the business of the employer.”
If there were ever a more blatant anti-worker anti-union statement in the annals of Congressional legislation it would be difficult to imagine what it might have been. Civility, in the GOP context, means a nice quiet non-union workplace wherein the little drones carry out their tasks with equanimity never having the temerity to pull an Oliver Twist and say “Please, sir, more?”
Heaven forfend that someone might seek to organize the employees in these little corporate corners of paradise for the purpose of addressing problems of unpaid required overtime, discriminatory promotion practices, substandard wages, and unsafe working conditions. In case this isn’t crystal clear, the GOP equates “trust and civility” with the early 19th century management style associated with the New England textile mills. It doesn’t take much to turn a trusting and civil environment as imagined by the Republicans into what we would more quickly recognize as a sweat shop.
Nor do the Republicans even bother to hide their perspective in this matter, the bill states very simply: “SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF EMPLOYER RIGHTS. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring an employer to employ any person who seeks or has sought employment with the employer in furtherance of other employment or agency status.”
And, how might an employer discern that a person might be seeking employment so as to promote unionization? Good question, because the proposed statute doesn’t specify this aspect. If previous membership in a union is considered suspect, then what is to prevent the re-imposition of good old fashioned Black Lists? Is the applicant “suspicious” because her parents were union members? Or, because he has siblings who are union members or leaders? Perhaps the applicant can be refused employment because he or she personally admits to pro-union sentiments? Has participated in public discussions in which the benefits of union organizing have been debated?
The bill, for all intents and purposes, is purely and simply a license for union busting, and we already know that concern for the workers, or even concern for that “trust and civility” in the workplace isn’t the point. Grover Norquist has already made the point for the Republicans in the U.S. Congress:
“And rather than negotiate with the teachers’ unions’ and the trial lawyers and the various leftist interest groups, we intend to break them.”
*H.R. 2153 was introduced by Representative Steve King (R-IA) with five co-sponsors: Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 6/13/2011 Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 6/13/2011 Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] – 6/13/2011 Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 6/13/2011 Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 6/13/2011 It has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.