January 30, 2009

Obama Gags Employers To Keep Workers Ill-Informed, Unionized

An essential part of liberty is the right of freedom of association, which carries with it the right to not associate. The right to freely associate is a part of the basis for the existence of labor unions and for legislation which requires that businesses negotiate with labor unions formed by their employees. But workers do have the right to choose to not unionize, or to decertify a union which they feel no longer represents their best interests.

Former President George W. Bush had done a great service to workers unhappy with union representation by issuing an executive order which interpreted labor law as permitting employers to tell workers that they had that right. Union bosses, needless to say, did not like that, because it meant that they actually had to give a damn if their members (often forced to join due to union shop regulations) were happy with the representation or not. Overturning that regulation was among their high priorities – and today they got Barry Hussein to silence employers so that employees remain ignorant to their rights under federal law.

President Obama plans Friday to reverse an executive order allowing unionized companies to post signs alerting employees that they are allowed to leave unions.

Critics of the order said that while unionized shops were allowed to let workers know they could de-unionize, non-unionized shops were not required to post information telling employees they could unionize.

Now I’ve got a real problem with this move by Obama, and it boils down to this. The Bush order permitted, but did not require, employers to engage in true speech regarding the legal rights of employees, while this new action prohibits such true speech based upon the objection of labor bosses that the old order did not compel (not permit, require) employer speech about the right to unionize. This seems to fly in the face of the First Amendment, as government is regulating the content of speech about activities that are legal. If this regulation were to ban false speech, I’d argue for it – but even Obama and the union bosses acknowledge that the speech which is now banned was not false, not coercive, and not encouraging illegal activity. Rather, it is an explicit attempt to tip the scale in favor of one side of the business/labor equation. As such, I’d argue that the new policy is not merely unconstitutional

Ed Morrissey also makes this observation about the regulation:

Remember when Barack Obama and his administration tried excusing the rescinding of the Mexico City policy on the basis of free speech and keeping women well informed of their medical choices? Apparently, Obama has less concern over American workers than foreign women.

* * *

So American workers should not know that they have the right to de-unionize? Obama wants to keep Americans in closed shops ignorant of their choices? Keep ‘em barefoot and enlslaved to the Union Boss Bills of the world?

In other words, Obama is pro-choice on abortion and no-choice on unions. Or, from another perspective, he wants as much money extracted from the paychecks of productive Americans as he can manage in order to pay for favored liberal causes (abortion, unionism) – even if those made to pay don’t believe in or want the “service” provided in the name of liberalism.

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