Today’s Chamberpost blog carries commentary on a series of somewhat embarassing admissions by the Director of Collective Bargaining for the AFL-CIO that undermine the coalition’s main talking points in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act:
… According to Daily Labor Report, the labor conglomerate’s director of collective bargaining, Gordon Pavy, told a policy forum that the bill’s passage would allow his organization to "refocus on organizing."
Hold it a second. Refocus? Hasn’t this already been a central focus of the labor movement? Pavy’s comment reveals what we’ve known all along: organized labor has let its organizing efforts lapse in favor of using the political process to bolster its ranks by rigging the rules.
Perhaps the more troubling admission:
On the issue of concluding first contracts, Pavy also revealed that "the AFL-CIO does not currently have a program to train members in how to negotiate collective bargaining agreements." Huh? A favorite talking point of EFCA supporters is that they can’t get contracts because employers drag out negotiations. Perhaps unions would seal the deal on more contracts if they made training negotiators a priority.
Instead, unions want binding first contract arbitration so they always get a contract no matter what they demand at the bargaining table. But, Pavy detailed the squeeze this would create on negotiating parties:
"Bargaining must commence 10 days after [union authorization cards are signed]," Pavy said. "It takes a lot of work to prepare for bargaining. It takes even more work when you’re dealing with the prospect of possibly going to arbitration."
We’ve said all along that negotiating for a first contract can be a difficult process that takes time. Nice that the AFL-CIO agrees. But as they admit, setting up a race against the clock makes that process even more difficult, guaranteeing that most negotiations will wind up in arbitration.