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TSA Unions - watch this video
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 02, 2007

This is the argument in a nutshell and why this portion of the bill should be defeated.

You'll see Sen. Jim DeMint and Sen. Claire McCaskill discussing the portion of the bill which would allow TSA workers to unionize. I'll post a transcript in an hidden excerpt, but the video conveys the point much better than reading a transcript.

Why? Because at one point, DeMint holds up what looks like a manual which has to be 500 to 1,000 pages and points out that is is the collective bargaining agreement for one union. He then asks us to imagine tens to hundreds of similar union collective bargaining agreements among the TSA workers spread across the country and how declaring an emergency and moving quickly to do the things necessary to ensure safety would be next to impossible.

Additionally, it becomes clear that the definition of an "emergency" would be pretty arbitrary. The GWOT, for instance, doesn't qualify according to McCaskill. Nor does al Qaeda. Anyway, watch:

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Whenever I hear the word ’collective’ I think of the borg.

Tell me again why all of these groups need unionization?
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
By the Senator DeMint’s supreme reasoning, we should also scrap the PATRIOT and PATRIOT II acts which weigh in at over 900 pages. I couldn’t agree with his more! In these most dangerous of times, we need to scrap any law more complicated than the President’s thumbprint!
Written By: pangloss
URL: http://
I am for paring those monstrosities down myself pangloss, but the comparison is a non sequiter. The issue isn’t size or complication in the law (though that is probably a concern as well, it is the size of a manual that has all the rules by which an organization must be run. The agreement would either be ignored or it would be extremely inflexible. The law will be quite large as well, but the concern is the work rules and other agreements which will lead to red tape and featherbedding.
Written By: Lance
The problem is that he seems to be arguing from the position that it’s impossible to account for responding to emergencies when drawing up these agreements, and therefore the only proper course of action is to deny these people their 1st Amendment right to free association. Why not mandate a provision that allows the temporary suspension of the collective bargaining agreement under declaration of emergency situations? DeMint appears to argue that this won’t work because we’re in a constant state of emergency. I think that’s a crock.
Written By: pangloss
URL: http://
That is part of his argument and it is illustrative of the larger problem which is inflexibility in general.

Free association? How does this stop that. They can associate, they can’t have a union. The government doesn’t want a union, like many employers. Joining a union isn’t free association, because as soon as workers do the employer is not free to disassociate from those workers. That may be a good or bad thing, but it isn’t free association under our laws.
Written By: Lance
The government doesn’t want a union, like many employers.
What they want and what the law states they must abide need not coincide. By the law of the land, all employees have a right to form unions. When employers act to prevent the formation of a union, it’s called "union busting", and it’s illegal. It’s illegal because it violates workers’ Constitutionally guaranteed right to work together to coordinate their relationship with their employer. This bill seeks to restrict the rights of this particular class of workers under the aegis of national security, and erroneously so. Sen. McCaskill’s amendment would simply preserve for TSA workers the same rights that already apply to everyone else.
Written By: pangloss
URL: http://
By the law of the land, all employees have a right to form unions
Hey, let me see, air traffic controllers union?....anyone?

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Hey, let me see, air traffic controllers union? ....anyone?
You mean like PATCO?

Reagan didn’t dictate that the air traffic controllers couldn’t belong to a union, he said that they couldn’t hold a strike because they were employees of the federal government.
Written By: pangloss
URL: http://
"he said that they couldn’t hold a strike because they were employees of the federal government."

He didn’t say they couldn’t strike, the law did. He merely enforced the law.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I think McCaskill might be right not to consider the, "global war on terror," as a specific emergency because it really is the status quo. If the status quo becomes a perpetual state of emergency, then it seems as though the idea of an emergency becomes meaningless. The second point, about al Qaeda is difficult to consider because it doesn’t refer to an event, only a group that is likely to be the cause of one. I think that it is sensible to consider only when some event that might have al Qaeda as its authors or the global war on terror as its context to be an emergency.

The implication of a multitude of unions is, however, quite troubling and would be a foolish practical nuisance even absent security concerns. I found that part of the exchange difficult to clearly decipher, so some misunderstanding might be at work, but all the same my impression is that the amendment is not really fit to be passed.
Written By: Paludicola

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