Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reflections on the Forum

I just got back from the student-organized forum this afternoon and I thought I'd share a few things that were said.

First, Jill Hurst, who works for the SEIU and has dealt with UNICCO in many different places around the country, confirmed that UNICCO uses card check recognition very frequently. Off-the-cuff, she estimated that UNICCO has around 8,500 unionized employees. Of these, around 7,000 are with SEIU, and of these, all but about 100 were unionized via card check. She also noted that UNICCO prides itself on being a client-centered company. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Secondly, Michael Fischl spoke very eloquently to the issue of card check versus NLRB elections. As you all know, President Shalala has said that she cannot go against the idea of a federally-run secret ballot. She also suggested that such a ballot is exactly the kind of thing that many of the UNICCO workers left their own countries to enjoy. Michael pointed out that NLRB elections are elections in which only one side even knows who and how many the voters are, only one side has regular access to the voters, only one side can hire and fire the voters, or raise or lower their pay. This is surely not the kind of 'democracy' that anyone came to America for.

And Jill Hurst added, in response to a question that card check is supposed to allow the union oppportunity to coerce the workers, that the union does not have any power over them. Unlike UNICCO, there is simply nothing SEIU could do, even if it wanted, to force someone to sign a card. The only means they would have of coercing anyone is by threatening physical violence, and no-one, not even UNICCO, has suggested, let alone proved, that anything of that sort has ever been done by SEIU.

Simon Evnine

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