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Why I Oppose EFCA: It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

Why I Oppose EFCA: It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

by Frank Roche on March 13, 2009


My grandfather was in the United Steelworkers of America. My father was in the Fraternal Order of Police. My teenage son was in United Food and Commercial Workers. I’ve never been in a union.

I don’t have much use for unions, to tell you the truth.

My Grandfather Was On Strike and Hungry in 1959
bessemerMy grandfather — Pop — went on strike just a month after I was born in 1959. Along with nearly everyone in Youngstown, Ohio, Pop was out of work for months, from late summer into the fall. He had to use his meager savings to scrape by. He wasn’t alone. This Time Magazine article from 1959 about the strike tells how bad the effects were on steelworker families:

By skimping in a lot of little ways—buying cheaper meats, turning out unneeded lights, doling out quarters instead of dollars to their five children—Steelworker Frank Sekula, 41, and his wife Betty have managed to stretch their savings far enough to meet their necessary outlays without piling up any new debts. Betty Sekula, veteran of many strikes, has only a faint trace of bitterness in her voice when she says: “I don’t think that either side in this strike is thinking of the betterment of the men. I don’t see where we’re going to gain anything. We’ve been holding our own, but it’s awfully heartbreaking to see all the money we’ve saved disappear day by day.”

Pop was on strike for 116 days in 1959. He got no pay. He had to make it on his own. And as a direct result of that strike, American companies started importing steel. Imported steel was cheaper. Youngstown steel companies shut down. The Steel Belt turned into the Rust Belt.

Thanks, United Steelworkers of America.

My Dad Didn’t Make Steel, He Carried Cold, Hard Steel
My father was a cop. He protected people. But he got paid like a pauper and the thing he needed to protect the most — his family — he didn’t have. Money.

When I got my first job I was embarrassed to make more money than my dad did. My first job and I made more money right away than he did after working for nearly 40 years.

Thanks, Fraternal Order of Police.

Bagging Groceries and Forced Into a Union
My son got a job at Acme as a bagger. His starting pay was $7.15 per hour. And as a special bonus, he was required to join the United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union. In addition to having to pay UFCW an initiation fee that resulted in him getting paychecks for a few dollars at first (yeah, they take your union initiation out of your check first), he had to pay union dues of one hour of pay per week. Even if he didn’t work that week!

Yep, you read that right. My son was a part-time worker, who often just worked 10 hours per week. And he owed a union tax of one hour of pay for that week. If he only worked 10 hours that week, that was a 10% tax. It was worse when he had to pay even when he wasn’t scheduled to work that week. It cost him to not work.

Thanks, United Food and Commercial Workers.

I Own a Small Business and Believe Me, Card Check Would Kill Small Businesses
My business partner and I started our small business with our own money. Every single cent that’s been spent since we started the company over 5 years ago has been from our pockets. We have never borrowed a penny and we don’t owe any money. In fact, we’ve been able to provide well-paying jobs for a lot of people. And in this economy, we’re hiring.

We have always been profitable. That started from Day 1. We made about $61.7 billion more money last quarter than AIG, a company that’s said to be “too big to fail.” I say we’re too small to fail.

Want to know what could make us fail? EFCA.

Small companies like ours, if organized, would have to spend 45% more annually per employee than large firms to comply with federal regulations.

Thanks, EFCA.

Why I Oppose EFCA: It’s Personal
I don’t like unions. There, I said it. I’ve seen the effects up close and personal in my own family. I think making it easier for unions to slam themselves into companies with unfettered card checks is going to be a real problem.

My grandfather didn’t benefit from a union. My father didn’t benefit from a union. My son didn’t benefit from a union. I don’t want to be part of the family legacy. And that’s why I oppose EFCA: It’s not business, it’s personal.

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