The American business community, reeling from a recession that Congress and the Obama Administration may stretch into a depression, is making a last-ditch fight to save manufacturing in this country.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act. A study sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors and conducted by economist Anne Layne-Farrar of LECG Consulting finds this:
“For every 3 percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration, the following year’s unemployment rate is predicted to increase by 1 percentage point and job creation is predicted to fall by around 1.5 million jobs. Thus, if EFCA passed today and resulted in an increase in unionization from the current rate of about 12% to 15%, then unionized workers would increase from 15.5 to 19.6 million while unemployment a year from now would rise by 1.5 million, to 10.4 million. If EFCA were to increase the percentage of private sector union membership by between 5 and 10 percentage points, as some have suggested, my analysis indicates that unemployment would increase by 2.3 to 5.4 million in the following year and the unemployment rate would increase by 1.5 to 3.5 percentage points in the following year.”
The bill is Big Labor’s top priority. It would eliminate workers’ rights to a secret ballot, allowing unions to gain representation simply by showing cards signed by a majority of workers.Workers who might oppose unionization in a secret ballot could easily be intimidated into signing cards. And when the union and the company fail to agree after 90 days, a government arbitrator is brought in.
The prospect of higher taxes, more regulation, cap-and-trade and labor costs that employers can’t control are clear messages to manufacturers to take their businesses elsewhere. Those who can’t go will be knocking at government’s door demanding subsidies or the right to fix prices.
Some Democrats who previously supported the EFCA, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, are beginning to have second-thoughts. Well they should. This Congress and this Administration can turn a recession into a depression with an unnecessary and permanent loss of jobs.