Friday, February 27, 2009

Here We Go Again (Again)

Apparently everything is just peachy here in the Enchanted Mitten, because our state legislators are turning their attention once more to the scourge of employees everywhere -- company meetings!

We've all sat through some boring ones, I'm sure, but that goes with the territory, right? Wrong, if some Democrat representatives get their way.

Yesterday, six House Democrats introduced the "Workers Freedom Act," HB 4467. This bill would prohibit employers from requiring their employees to "attend an employer-sponsored meeting or participate in any communication with the employer or its agent or representative if the primary purpose is to communicate the employer's opinion about religious or political matters."

Getting queasy yet? You will when you realize that the bill defines "political matters" as including "political party affiliation or the decision to join or not join any lawful political, social, or community group or activity or any labor organization."

Thus the real purpose of the bill emerges -- to prevent employers from requiring that employees attend a meeting to discuss union efforts to organize their workplace, a practice that is entirely legal and permitted under the National Labor Relations Act.

Are these legislators psychologically incapable of supporting business in Michigan? Don't they realize the effect such a ridiculous law would have? As Paul Kersey wrote in 2007, the last time this bill was introduced:

But passage of this bill would certainly signal to employers that the state’s lawmakers are determined to protect unions by any method possible, fair or foul, wise or ill-advised. And the legal process of having the law overturned could drag on for months or even years. During that time uncertainty over the lawsuit might make employers even more wary about locating in Michigan.

This law is the brainchild of the National Workrights Institute, which describes itself as follows:

The National Workrights Institute was founded in January 2000 by the former staff of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Taskforce on Civil Liberties in the Workplace. The Institute's creation grew from the belief that the workplace is a critical front in the fight for human rights and the belief that this effort required the creation of a new organization dedicated to human rights in the workplace. The Institute's mission is to be the one human rights organization which commits its entire effort to workplace issues.

What a pedigree.

When this bill was introduced in Michigan in 2007, it passed in the House, but died a deserved death in the Senate. Let's hope the 2009 version meets with the same fate.


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