Herman Cain: The Stupid Continues

Herman Cain may have withdrawn from the Republican presidential race, but he hasn’t stopped saying incredibly ignorant things. Now he’s jumped into the recall campaign of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and claimed that Walker must win so the unions lose — and that he would have fired anyone who tried to form a union at Godfather’s Pizza:

If Governor Walker is recalled, the unions win and Wisconsin loses. I already know businesses in Wisconsin that say if the unions prevail and Governor Walker loses, they are packing up and leaving. We will have the first look at what America will look like if we do not stop this mess … If the unions win, that means that they don’t want balanced budgets, they still want to continue to destroy the state and we will be looking at the first instance, along with California, of what America is going to look like if we don’t push back and start to win against some of these forces.

When I ran Godfather’s Pizza, my employees had every right – every right – to unionize if they wanted to. The good news is, because of the kind of work environment we created, they didn’t want to unionize. But they had every right to unionize. Now, if they had decided to unionize, I could also decide to fire all of ’em.

Uh, no Herman. That would be a very clear violation of federal law:

The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.

Examples of employer conduct that violates the law:

Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.

I can see how he might not be quite up to date on the state of the law, though. The NLRA has only been in place since 1935.

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  • michaelgaribaldi

    For the most part, HC is a silly man whose antics are amusing. But he really should be called out on this one. It would be nice if someone asked him if he remembers why MLK happened to be visiting Memphis on April 4.

    *****

    The Memphis Sanitation Strike began on February 11, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Citing years of poor treatment, discrimination, dangerous working conditions, and the recent work-related deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, some 1300 black sanitation workers walked off the job in protest. They sought to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1733.[1]

    Over the next 64 days, the strike grew into a major civil rights struggle, attracting the attention of the national news media. AFSCME and the workers demanded union recognition, wage increases, and an end to discrimination. Local clergy members and community leaders also undertook an active campaign, including boycotts and civil disobedience. Civil Rights leaders Roy Wilkins, James Lawson, and Bayard Rustin all participated over the course of the strike. Prior to his death on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. also took an active role in mass meetings and street actions. The strike ended on April 12, 1968, with a settlement that included union recognition and wage increases, although additional strikes had to be threatened to force the City of Memphis to honor its agreements.

    ****

    It would be nice if someone sealed Herman Cain inside one of his Pizza ovens.

  • matty1

    I can see how he might not be quite up to date on the state of the law, though. The NLRA has only been in place since 1935.

    Be fair it was probably never passed at all in the universe Cain comes from.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Ignorance of the law aside, how does it compute that employees have “every right” to unionize if they are immediately fired?

    I think Cain did us the unintentional favor of pointing out that the private sector can be every bit as coercive and freedom-destroying as the government.

  • RW Ahrens

    It would be nice if someone sealed Herman Cain inside one of his Pizza ovens.

    I’m sorry, but this sentence just makes me a little bit queasy. And not because of the reference to pizzas.

    Much better is to just point and laugh. Rolling on the floor, while optional, gains points.

  • noastronomer

    “I already know businesses in Wisconsin that say if the unions prevail and Governor Walker loses, they are packing up and leaving.”

    That’s an outright fabrication. A total and complete and utter lie. Cain has no knowledge of any such business.

  • harold

    It would be nice if someone sealed Herman Cain inside one of his Pizza ovens.

    I understand and sympathize with the feelings of anger that inhumane right wing rhetoric can provoke.

    Having said that –

    MLK lost his own life, and the world didn’t become perfect. There have been some bitterly ironic consequences to the backlash since his death (an African-American man is far more likely to go to prison now than in 1968, and almost certainly less likely to have a decently paying job), although much of that is due to economic policy that affects all ethnic groups.

    Still, MLK succeeded a great deal in unimaginably difficult circumstances, where numerous people had failed before, and without violent rhetoric or actions.

  • http://nigelthebold.com/ nigelTheBold to the power of nigelTheBold

    Now, if they had decided to unionize, I could also decide to fire all of ‘em.

    Ah, yes. A bald-faced declaration of the power disparity between businesses and individuals. I have seen few arguments for unions more persuasive than this.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Businesses are leaving Wisconsin if government employee unions prevail? I don’t think Cain knows what he’s talking about, other than appealing to anti-union folks like the Koch brothers.

  • slc1

    Uh, no Herman. That would be a very clear violation of federal law:

    Doesn’t stop Walmart for doing it.

  • Lycanthrope

    When I ran Godfather’s Pizza, my employees had every right – every right – to unionize if they wanted to. … Now, if they had decided to unionize, I could also decide to fire all of ‘em.

    So…they didn’t have every right to unionize.

  • bahrfeldt

    “I can see how he might not be quite up to date on the state of the law, though. The NLRA has only been in place since 1935”

    He doesn’t follow any laws passed after 999.

  • Michael Heath

    Michigan Republican legislators, who enjoy the majority in both chambers, are salivating about doing what Wisconsin is doing against its unions. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has been responding by claiming that’s not the right way for Michigan solve its economic and budgetary issues, though he lacks the courage to straight-out promise to veto such language; at least I haven’t encountered such a bold pronouncement.

    This threat is a good example of the ramifications of electing a supposed moderate from a party of radical wingnuts, equivalent to the threat we face from Mitt Romney. Where a President Romney would assuredly nominate conservative plutocrats in the vein of CJ Roberts and Justice Alito so the threat with him is near-certain and damaging for generations.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    The employees were free to form a union, but if tried to form a union they would be fired and thus incapable of forming a union.

    Sounds like something straight off of Joseph Heller’s typewriter.

    Also, Herman, you know who else hated unions? Yeah, I went there.

    People died, at the hands of “law enforcement” and by hired goons of the “job creators” in order to have the right to form unions. So fuck you, Herman, up your crusty, Godfather’s impacted, uptight asshole. Just fuck you.

  • laurentweppe

    Doesn’t stop Walmart for doing it.

    And that’s when one may ask why so far there hasn’t been a War of the Stores like there was a War of the Mines.

    Or they could try to play it the french way and resort to bossnaping (tie up your managment to their chair, and observe how fragile your rich bullies really are).

    What always baffles me with rich idiots bashing unions is that they don’t seem to realize how easily workers’ anger can become violent and even murderous if oppression make them desperate: it’s like their sense of entitlement short-circuited their self-preservation instinct.

  • slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #12

    An argument that I have made on innumerable occasions on this blog and others. It doesn’t seem to make any impression on those who state that they will refuse to vote for Obama in order to “teach the Democrats a lesson.” How did that work out in 1968 and 2000?

  • arakasi

    Maybe, just maybe the workers did not want to unionize because they knew that if they did, they would be fired.

    This guy ain’t too bright, is he.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Walmart is a pestilence upon the land.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “An argument that I have made on innumerable occasions on this blog and others. It doesn’t seem to make any impression on those who state that they will refuse to vote for Obama in order to “teach the Democrats a lesson.” How did that work out in 1968 and 2000?”

    I’ve been making the same argument for over two years. The GOP and their useful idiots in the SKKKrotalmurKKKinPatriotiKKK Front have made a mockery of the process of governance by wasting time on frivolous issues like the defense of marriage nonsense while either ignoring or actually obstructing efforts to get anything done that really matters.

    And for that, many will actually reward them in November, go figure.

  • sunsangnim

    I hope he treated his employees better than he treats goldfish and rabbits.

  • FlickingYourSwitch

    What he doesn’t understand is that treating workers like that is what makes unions necessary in the first place. In my country they are, nowadays, accepted by the employers but it wasn’t always so. And that’s why they were formed and became so popular. There needs to be a counterweight, and indeed now working conditions are much better.