The misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act" Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Tomorrow HR 800, the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" will be voted on in the House. The bill is political pay-back by Democrats for Big Labor's support. The intent of "this exquisitely mistitled act" as George Will calls it, is to help labor unions who are seeing membership and power dwindle boost both.
It would allow unions to organize workplaces without workers voting for unionization in elections with secret ballots. Instead, unions could use the "card check" system: Once a majority of a company's employees signs a card expressing consent, the union is automatically certified as the bargaining agent for all the workers.
As the system now works, such votes for unionization are on a secret ballot. The "card check" system isn't a secret ballot, but instead one in which the employee signs a card authorizing (or not)the union. In other words, a public vote, not much different, in reality, than raising your hand.
Unions say the card-check system is needed to protect workers from anti-union pressure by employers before secret-ballot elections. Such supposed pressure is one of organized labor's alibis for declining membership.
But of course a open card check system would be immune from such "pressure" wouldn't it? No one from a labor union would ever try to intimidate or pressure an employee into signing a card authorizing the formation of a union, would they?
It is absurd reasoning and argues directly against the name of the bill. Ironically, if there is a vote to decertify a union, union organizers insist on a secret ballot.
And, interestingly (and ironically) some of the current sponsors of this bill insist a secret ballot for forming a union is a must as well ... if you live in Mexico (pdf):
"We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may otherwise not choose."
As Will notes:
Under the card-check system, unions are able to, in effect, select the voters they want. It strips all workers of privacy and exposes them, one at a time, to the face-to-face pressure of union organizers who distribute and collect the cards. The Supreme Court has said that the card-check system is "admittedly inferior to the election process."
Repealing a right — to secret ballots — long considered fundamental to democratic culture would be a radical act. But labor is desperate.
And Democrats, who, in other elections, insist on the right to vote by secret ballot, have no problem selling out to big labor on this. Your rights aren't their priority.
Frankly I'm with Will as he concludes:
Still, herewith a modest proposal: Any member of Congress who was elected by a secret ballot should oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.
That, of course, would require members with principles. And tomorrow, when this travesty is passed, you'll find out how many members lack them.