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Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041)

Posted by David A. Peterson on 19. November 2008 in Issues |

I must admit I haven’t paid any attention this bill over the last couple of years. It has come up twice in the last couple congressional sessions. It wasn’t until this election cycle that I saw a television advertisement with ex-presidential candidate and South Dakota Senator George McGovern that I started reviewing the available material.

The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041) is known by the public as the “Card Check” law. Essentially if 30% of the workers just fill out a card then this law would recognize the union as the official representative of 100% of the employees in that company or smaller bargaining unit.

This card check method would replace the current secret ballot process that is used to elect a union as the worker’s representative. Currently the National Labor Relations Act allows workers to choose a secret ballot over a card check. The new Employee Free Choice Act will just bypass that step and go right to the card check.

With card check “voting” the employees could be subject to coercion. Workers who might otherwise be thinking twice about unionizing, due to say the automakers current plight, might be bullied into choosing union representation by coworkers. No one wants to be ostracized at work so they might go with the flow and choose the union when they really don’t want it. The Heritage Foundation states it this way on their website: “…but due to union organizers’ techniques, card checks often do not reflect workers’ free and considered choice about union membership.”

Here’s another situation, imagine a work place that is in a really bad mood right at this very moment. Maybe layoffs just happened, or a disciplinary action just took place, with card check a union representative could run around the room at that moment, at the height of the issue and just get cards signed. Had the employees taken a day to think about it they may not have signed – but by then it would be too late. The US Chamber of Commerce says “…the union would be certified the moment it collected a majority of signed authorization cards…”

The Heritage Foundation and the US Chamber of Commerce might oppose unions on a variety of fronts. But George McGovern, he is clearly a friend of unions in general. Here are just some of his comments from an ad ran over this past summer and fall:

He said this:

•  “… it eliminates an employee’s right to a private vote…”
• “I fear today’s union leaders are turning their backs on democratic workplace elections…”
• “Quite simply this propose law cannot be justified …”
• “Democracy should not be sacrificed…”

I might be a conservative Republican but if Senator McGovern was still in office I would have to join sides with him and stop this silly bill. As it is, we may need a strong ground swell of opposition to keep this from happening. Get ready – you may have to get involved to stop the Employee Free Choice Act from becoming a law.

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