‘Card check’ not a good idea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act (HR 1409, S 560), also called card check, is proposed legislation that would change the current process in place for organizing unions in the workplace. If enacted, employees could ask a union for blank cards and distribute them among the workers. If 50 percent plus one of the workers agree, the union is in place without any vote.

As it stands today, employees voting on union representation get a ballot just like when people vote for president. Nobody knows — or needs to know — how they vote.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) takes that secret ballot away.

Instead of a private election process overseen by the impartial National Labor Relations Board, the EFCA would simply require the employee’s signature on a simple card with no restrictions or oversight as to how the signatures are obtained. Imagine the pressure you would be under if a group of coworkers and a union representative approached you and tells you to sign a card because they want a union. Better yet, picture the scenario if your direct supervisor tells you to sign because he/she wants union representation and if you refuse to sign they’ll make it difficult for you.

Unions have a respected place in employment history and have played an important role in improving conditions for millions of Americans, but with the myriad of federal and state laws protecting workers’ rights, union membership becomes less necessary.

If passed, the EFCA would further devastate this nation’s already fragile economy and we see this as nothing more than a power play by unions to strengthen their numbers and add money to their shrinking coffers. The current laws have worked well for more than 50 years and shouldn’t be changed because unions are struggling.

Certainly, small-business operators fear EFCA will put them out of business and that’s not unwarranted, if you’ve been reading the news about the auto industry’s bail-out requests. Auto unions pressed and pressed for more and more and now Detroit crumbles. Unions are finally making concessions when they shouldn’t have been so greedy in the first place.

The EFCA was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Ted Kennedy, but Senator Mary Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon have signed on as co-sponsors of this fatally flawed piece of legislation. We urge Landrieu and Melancon to drop their support and vote no on this bad bill and encourage you to contact them to weigh in on this, too.

Any bill that takes away the workers right to a secret ballot is a bad bill. Bad for all of us.