• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Is 'Card Check' Really a Free Choice?

    Aside from the Stimulus Package, the Liberals in Congress have something else up their sleeve on their agenda. It is known as the “Employee Free Choice Act”, but names can be misleading. The premise of this bill is to “establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiation.” However, the danger of this bill is laid out in Section 2: [Emphasis mine]

     If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organizations currently certified or recognizing as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative in the subsection.

    What this means is that as long as a simple majority (50%+1) of authorized signatures, they will forgo elections by a secret ballot. Much has been said on this blog about the Employee Free Choice Act. But yesterday, the Center for Union Facts released a poll that stated that 82% of non-unionized workers do not want to be unionized.

    The fact remains that the current system is not broken, it is just that people don’t want to be in unions. Only 12% of salaried workers were unionized in 2008. What does this mean? Well, Big Labor would like you to believe that it is because of unfair labor practices. If that is the case, why then, would they still want to get rid of the secret ballot. If a worker has the right to vote in a secret ballot on who they want to be the next American Idol, should not they also have the right to vote in a secret ballot whether or not they are unionized?

    George McGovern has been an outspoken critic of The “Employee Free Choice Act” specifically because of the provision I highlighted. The simple formula is that Big Labor wants more members to get more people to pay union dues. The left wants more union dues because Unions contribute to liberal politicians. So is getting an employee to join a union, without an election, and forcing said employee to pay dues to a cause they may, or may not, agree with really free choice?

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Is 'Card Check' Really a Free Choice?

    1. Mark Naccarato, Nash says:

      Your whole argument is disingenuous and is an attempt to frame the whole debate about EFCA as "preserving the secret ballot".

      Anyone who has actually read the whole Employee Free Choice Act knows that it gives workers – not Management – a CHOICE about whether to use a secret ballot election or majority sign-up (what you call "card check").

      You know full well that the reason corporations want to keep the current election system in place is because it allows Management to set the timeline. That means they leave themselves a nice long time period to hold captive audience meetings and to threaten, bribe, or fire pro-union employees.

      The business lobby opposing EFCA don't give a hoot about a "secret ballot". They care about the election timetable which they currently control. If Conservatives cared about secret ballots, they'd hold CEO and shareholder elections with them. Do they? I've never heard of one.

      This whole column just demonstrates that whether it's in the marketplace or the court of public opinion, Conservatives can only win when the lie, cheat, or steal.

      I'm curious to see if you elitists at Heritage actually have the guts to post my comment. It's not obscene, unless you're afraid of a contrary opinion. I'm betting you are, but please prove me wrong.

    2. Pingback: A Biggggggggggg Mistake. «

    3. Jim Gray, Charleston says:

      The "disingenous attempt" referred to by a commentator is on the part of the pro-EFCA advocates, not business. The point of the article is that EFCA DOES in fact eliminate the private and confidential secret ballot as detailed above. Pro-EFCA parties are intentionally misleading people stating that EFCA "preserves" secret ballot at the option of employees (VERY misleading and dead wrong when a majority of employees sign cards). The rationale presented in the earlier comment (spec. management threatening, bribing, firing pro-union employees, etc. during traditional campaigns) simply lacks logic – and is already illegal. The true intent of organized labor with EFCA eliminating traditional campaigns and secret ballot elections is to effectively censor management's position (spec. management's timely counter-point communications on timely issues when organizing starts) so that employees will make an uninformed and bias choice hearing only the union side. It is easy to win a one-sided argument! The truth: Employees who vote in NLRB campaigns more often vote for the union when management threatens employees. Good business leaders and HR professionals know that threats and poor treatment demotivate and disillusion employees. Threats backfire. Bad leaders who threaten their employees don't care and lose (and deserve to lose) NLRB secret ballot elections because threats and poor treatment has (and always will) justify the need for union representation. If in fact such abusive behavior (implied threats) during campaigns has been the norm (which I doubt), the result of EFCA will likely encourage on-going negative behavior from bad leaders attempting to counter-punch feared organizing activity (without the warning-flag of a petition for an election). EFCA simply "throws the baby out with the bath water" and will not fix the (falsely) perceived NLRB campaign problems defined by pro-EFCA advocates. With EFCA, unions will pressure and intimidate for card signatures (as they do now and as their organizers' training playbook instructs) with one-sided persuasion. With EFCA, union organizers will purposefully make unrealistic 1st contract term promises they know they cannot deliver because with mandatory arbitration, they will blame anything less than their promises on management and the arbitrators with no tangible obligation to (and no negative consequences from not) bargain(ing) in good faith…and start collecting dues – which is their primary goal. Once EFCA starts, it will be nearly impossible to reverse these effects. Disgraceful. (And we wonder why Labor has no interest in changing the secret ballot rules for decertification?) Unions know why they lose elections…they are simply stuck in denial (refusing to recognize that many employees often respect their business leaders and while they may suport the existence of the NLRA and their right to organize, they also want to retain their rights to NOT vote for a union, hear all sides, understand when union representation is not needed and retain the right to vote in confidence via NLRB secret ballot.) The truth is hard for organized labor to swallow, isn't it? If unions cannot increase ranks through effective selling of their services, change the rulebook and censor the opposition! Promise the world in the 1st contract and then blame others for your shortcomings. So again, who is disingenous with EFCA? Hopefully most employees can see through the wool being pulled over their eyes.

    4. Brian Chidester, Los says:

      The strength of the labor unions in the US suffered greatly during the 1980s and never fully recovered. One would have had to have worked before the '80s to really understand what benefits were. Without studying the full breadth of the EFCA, I can only comment on the general impression of unions, at this point. But I would say, there is a vast lack of understanding of the benefits that the union imbues into industries where workers have typically been advantage of. And perhaps the 88% of Americans who would prefer to not be in a union simply do not understand what a world without them would look like. That is not to say that everyone of that 88% is completely ignorant of their position. My comments are not a panacea for all Americans, just a counter to the article and the comments above.

      There is something to be said for workers who are not living up to their end of the bargain not being worthy of protection. But the whole system of competition gives a certain personality type a clear advantage. It's enough that we essentially rent ourselves out 40+ hours a week so that we can pay our bills. The unions have long maintained a strong balance to the system, whereby the average working stiff can pay dues to have their integrity and interests protected. Unions will never be perfect, and at the very least, they are a necessary evil. At best, they represent something far greater.

      Joe the Plumber might disagree. But I see no hammer and sickle in the hands of unions.

    5. The Intellectual Red says:

      The Employee Free Choice Act (card check) is costing jobs now. Many employers are facing the difficult task of what to do with their excess workforce in these slow economic times. Many are choosing to have a traditional layoff. My own company has been forced to have a layoff. However, fear of passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is forcing some companies to make the difficult decision to permanently fire employees. These fired employees will not have recall rights. If they are rehired, they will have to start all over for wages and benefits. Why is this? Fired employees can not be a part of a unionization campaign. If they have signed cards or sign cards in the future, these cards will not count under the EFCA. Most employers believe the 'card check' legislation will pass this year. President Obama supports this legislation and democrats control both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has already passed this legislation. Employers are terrified of how easy it will be to unionize their workforces when this law passes. They are taking every step possible to prevent this from occurring. Unfortunately, this has a bad effect on employees who are being downsized.

    6. ENRIQUE SOTILLO, TAM says:

      I AM NOT A GENIUS, BUT I AM NO BLIND. IT COULD BE TRUE THAT THERE IS NO A HAMMER AND SICKLE IN ORGANIZED LABOR, BUT ONLY BECAUSE ORGANIZED LABOR IS NOTHING MORE THAN A VERY BIG AND PROFFITABLE BUSINESS AIMING TO MONOPOLIZEHOW WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS CAN INTER-ACT. THEY GET THE BACK UP OF THE EXTREME LIBERAL LEFT ONLY BECAUSE FOR A LONG TIME THEY HAVE BEEN SCRATCHING EACH OTHER BACK, BUT WAY UNTIL THOSE IN POWER NOW PUT INTO ACTION THEIRS RADICAL AGENDA. UNIONS WILL BE NOTHING BUT TOYS OF THE GOVERMENT. AS FAR AS I CAN SEE, TAXES AND UNIONS HAVE BEEN DESTROYING THE AMERICAN ECONOMIC DEVELOMENT FOR QUITE A WHILE

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×