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Employee/Employer Relations

Card Checks Prevent Democratic Process In The Workplace

ACCE Webmaster on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 5:41:21 pm

I am posting an article by Randy Gordon, President and CEO, Long Beach (CA) Area Chamber of Commerce who talks about the proposal to make it easier for workers to unionize and its impact on the business community:

One of America’s greatest electoral practices is the secret ballot vote. Each person, free from the influences of outside interests, when in a polling booth can vote without anyone knowing their choice. This has been how this country does business since its inception. These same rules apply in many meetings and elections that take place in the private sector, including how union organizing is done.

Currently, if employees wish to unionize, a secret ballot vote can be arranged and conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or its state equivalent. This gives both sides the opportunity to influence the labor force on whether or not unionization would be the best for them. Then the individual employees vote in a secret ballot session. If a majority wishes to unionize, they become a union and start collective bargaining procedures. If a majority does not wish to unionize, they stay non-unionized.

Sounds fair, right?

Well two pieces of legislation threatens to change this. California’s AB 2386 (Nunez, D-Los Angeles) and Congressional bill “Employee Free Choice Act” (which is a misnomer) or EFCA are currently circulating in their respective legislatures. Both of these would change current labor laws to allow for a process known as “card checks” for unionization.

This method would allow union organizers the option of sending out “support cards” that the workforce simply has to sign saying they wish to unionize. If a majority sends it back to the NLRB, then they will automatically become a union.

The problem with this method is that these organizers have been known to intimidate, harass, and bother individuals until they sign off on his card. The pressure is often times relentless and employees do not have the freedom of a secret vote.

The Long Beach Chamber stands ready to defend the rights of employees to have a secret ballot vote on whether or not they wish to unionize. We officially oppose AB 2386 and are working with the United States Chamber of Commerce to help fight the “EFCA”. In the coming weeks, we will be launching a letter-writing campaign to prevent AB 2386’s passage. However, on a federal level, we need your help. We need you to contact your local congressional and state legislators to let them know that card checks is the wrong approach.

Recently, former United States Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern penned an article in the Wall Street Journal urging his party to move away from card checks and that it goes against the democratic way of doing things. If McGovern thinks that these policies are too extreme for him, they probably are.

- Shaun Lumachi

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