Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One more CEO against EFCA

Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus writes today that "America [will] become France" if a new labor bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, were ever to become law. "It would virtually guarantee that every company becomes unionized," he says in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Marcus' fears are reinforced by an experience he had in the 1970's, when he traveled to England only to discover "the airport workers, bus drivers and garbage collectors were all on strike." An investor in the British company he was looking to acquire remarked that "the U.K. was finished," explaining that the tax rate was 75%. This anecdote comprises the total body of evidence Marcus proffers in support of his paragraph's lead assertion that "[c]ountries other than france have suffered the consequences of bad labor laws" -- i.e., unions are susceptible to work stoppages, and employers are susceptible to hyperbole.

It's worth noting that Marcus does not explain why the EFCA is objectionable except on the above grounds that unions represent interests other than management, and that this bill could expand their base of support. As a result, he favors the current "secret-ballot" process of union certification simply because it has proven effective in achieving the opposite result: when employers have more time to respond to an organizing drive, they have more opportunities to thwart it, both legally and illegally. The EFCA would simply require majority signatures in a workplace to create a union. This can only be construed as "undemocratic" if one believes an employer should enjoy a de facto veto over the entire process.

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