Kentucky Republican senate nominee Rand Paul has already made it quite clear that he doesn’t care much for worker’s rights, as he has called for drastically rolling back federal workers protections, including those for mine workers, and has a stated desire to “get OSHA out of our small businesses.” (OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.) During a debate yesterday, Paul made this stance even clearer, saying that he opposed the Employee Free Choice Act because, if it became law, businesses that don’t want to see their workers unionize might have to deal with a union anyway:
Let me interpret for ya. [Attorney General Jack Conway] is for the Employee Free Choice Act, which creates and allows unions to be formed and forced on businesses that don’t want to have unions. Jack is for it, I know it’s difficult to get that out of the answer.
So, in Paul’s mind, if management doesn’t want a union, then the business shouldn’t be unionized, regardless of what the workers want. Either that, or he thinks that EFCA will magically unionize workers who have no interest in being in a union. He’s either ignorant regarding how the bill would work, or in the more likely scenario, he would empower management with veto power over workers who want to form a union and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, or safety standards.
Back in reality, EFCA would simply authorize workers to automatically form a union by signing cards signaling their favor for such a move. Workers are already allowed to form unions in this manner, and have been doing so without controversy for years. In fact, since 2003, more than half a million workers have been organized by majority sign-up, including those at Cingular Wireless, Dow Jones, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Kaiser Permanente.
The only catch is that, in order for this process to proceed, the employer has to give its okay. Even if a vast majority of workers indicate that they want to join a union, the employer can demand an election, giving itself ample time to intimidate or even fire pro-union workers and bring in union-busting consulting firms that specialize in winning unionization elections for the management. (75 percent of employers facing union drives hire anti-union consultants.) EFCA would simply remove this management veto over majority sign-up campaigns.
So does Paul favor unionization only if the employer gives its okay? That would fit into his anti-worker worldview, which, if it actually came to pass, would allow businesses to run roughshod over their employees, with no way for workers to come together and demand a better, safer workplace.