Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Or throw bombs...

Employee Free Choice
The Nation

Out-of-control costs for healthcare, housing, gasoline and college tuition are putting an ever tighter squeeze on American families' budgets. Congress can, and should, take action to relieve the pressure. Let's start by strengthening employees' rights to freely form labor unions.

Research has shown unionized firms to be more productive than their nonunion rivals. And increasingly, unions are adopting flexible approaches that aim for common ground with employers to solve problems and develop new business opportunities. In Milwaukee union employees at Harley-Davidson crafted a plan with managers that both groups credit with increasing productivity and keeping the fabled motorcycle made in America. In California a collaboration at Kaiser Permanente has enabled managers and staff at the $28 billion healthcare firm to overcome what could have been a financial disaster without sacrificing patient care. Since launching its partnership with the Service Employees International Union, six other international unions and twenty-nine locals, Kaiser has boosted staff retention and patient satisfaction while reducing workplace injuries by 20 percent.

Given their potential to help iron out workplace problems and increase competitiveness, it is tragic that many managers insist on treating unions as threats. Employer intimidation tactics have proliferated dramatically. In the 1950s the National Labor Relations Board acted on hundreds of unionbusting complaints every year. In the 1990s the NLRB received more than 20,000 unionbusting complaints every year.


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