Far Left Icon George McGovern Takes Aim at Mandatory Binding Arbitration 

As we told you last year, Far Left icon and former Democrat presidential nominee George McGovern came out in strong opposition to the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill in the Wall Street JournalIn his op-ed, McGovern recognized that the union boss power grab would destroy the secret ballot, and he noted card check instant organizing drives are infamous for worker intimidation and dirty tricks by union organizers.

Now, McGovern has again taken to the pages of the Journal to criticize another disturbing provision of the card check bill: mandatory binding arbitration.

Last year, I wrote on these pages that I was opposed to this bill because it would eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections. However, the bill has an additional feature that isn't often mentioned but that is just as troublesome -- compulsory arbitration.

This feature would give the government the power to step into labor disputes where employers and labor leaders cannot reach an agreement and compel both sides to accept a contract. Compulsory arbitration is bound to trigger the law of unintended consequences.


In a contract negotiation, each party typically perceives the other as too demanding. But no one loses their right to contract willingly or suffers being forced to agree to anything. Employees can strike if they feel that they have been dealt with unfairly, but it is a costly option. Employers are free to reject labor demands they find to be too difficult to accept, but running a business without experienced employees is itself difficult. Both sides have an incentive to press their demands, but they also have compelling reasons not to press their demands too far. EFCA would disrupt that balance by enabling government-appointed lawyers to decide what they believe is fair or reasonable.

A federally appointed arbitrator cannot be expected to understand the nuances specific to each business dispute, the competitive market position of the business, or the plethora of other factors unique to each case. Yet fundamental decisions on wages and benefit costs, rules for promotions, or even rules for exiting an unprofitable line of business could fall to federal arbitrators under EFCA.

Many labor contracts can run over 100 pages with their requirements of each party. Compulsory arbitration is, in one sense, government dictating to employees what they will win or lose in the deal, with no opportunity to approve the "agreement." Why should employees pay union dues to get such a contract?

Good points, but McGovern didn't think to add: the public sector binding arbitration experience proves arbitrators will usually include a forced union dues requirement in the imposed contract!

But it's worth remembering the even the secret ballot isn't a cure-all.  As long as individual workers are forced to accept a union-boss "representation," there is no true employee free choice.


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