Monday, July 3, 2017

California shills - around the block

I believe that so many registered voters in California would sign a ballot initiative to make union busting a felony -- that they might have to line up around the block.  Basic requirement: need as many registered voters to sign up as 5% of last governor’s race voters (365,000).  Basic source: 40% nationally earn $15/hr or less –- and –- bottom 40% incomes nationally down to 10% of overall income share from 15% two generations earlier (California wages higher, but prices too).

The latter means 33% less of twice as much, true -- but -- people judge their well being as compared to others -- besides -- the very bottom 10-15% are down in absolute terms (today’s $7.25/hr federal minimum wage compared to 1968’s $11.45/hr).

Shill effect: As a Manhattan and Bronx street peddler in the early 1970s I could wait for ten minutes for somebody to make a buy – but as soon as someone did, four other people might suddenly shell out too. 

I’m not suggesting fooling voters (potential signers) with fake lines around the block.  I am suggesting doing lines around the block as our primary demonstration –- the kind of image loved by TV cameras on the six-o’clock news.  We could even start "demonstration"-demonstration lines before the precise legal language of the initiative is prepared (not trying to fool anybody there) just to get the initiative idea rolling (around the block :-]).
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Suppose that a few states happened to impose (they didn't) criminal law penalties for union busting, back in 1935, when Congress passed the NLRA(a) and set up the NLRB(b).  Why would anyone suppose that federal regulatory machinery would preempt state criminal court prosecutions?

Farm workers were deliberately left out the NLRA(a) in 1935 (traded for passage votes).  California (only) has a virtual mirror image of the NLRA/NLRB for farm workers -- the CALRA.  If ever a (future Democratic) Congress moved to include farm workers under the NLRA(a) -- the CALRA would presumably bow out to federal preemption.

OTH, if Congress should wake up and make union busting a federal felony -- triable and punishable in criminal court -- there is no such presumption that state union busting prosecutions would bowl over -- no more than state bank robbery prohibitions or state minimum wage regulations give way to federal preemption. 

Lest there be any doubt: With First Amendment protected freedom of association at stake (except for government workers say the courts), federal regulations or even (if) deliberately restrictive laws cannot force organizing rights down an impassable road.

1 comment:

Denis Drew said...

I sent the message above to 2,000 West Coast email addresses (unions, journalists, educators, legislators). Thought someone would have to pick it up -- so easy. Then I learned about federal preemption:

So I came up with "39 words."

Now, I'm thinking shills around the block could work wonders (I always have grandiosity :-]) getting poor and minorities out to vote around the country if done right. They don't have much faith in any of the politicians running (can't blame) -- BUT -- they might be more enthusiastic about voting for a ballot initiative that they originated (and vote Democratic at the same time). Only 12 states have initiatives that go into law but voter preference initiatives exist almost everywhere.

When is the Dem party going to wake up that supporting labor organizing (from regularly scheduled elections to making union busting a felony) would leave Republicans nowhere to hide? NYT's Nick Cohn pointed out Trump won by trading places with Obama. Perfect way to trade back.