Some ‘Card Check’ Reading

By February 26, 2007Labor Unions

Excellent, new analyses have become available debunking the economic arguments and sheer cant being spread by advocates of card check.

James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation provides a point-by-point rebuttal of labor’s claims in this primer, “Card Checks Would Not Solve Alleged Problems with Union Organizing Elections.” The conclusion:

Card checks would not remedy the alleged abuses that union activists say justify its passage. Labor activists contend that employers systematically threaten and even fire workers who want to join a union, drag out the election process, and prevent unions from making their case to workers. These allegations are either baseless or vastly exaggerated. But even if the unions are right, card check laws that make a workers’ choice to join a union public would do nothing to solve them. Card checks would actually make it easier for rogue employers to fire union supporters and more difficult for unions to contact workers. American workers have a fundamental right to vote in privacy that Congress should not deny them. That right should not be denied in favor of a process that would not address the allegations of problems with private-ballot elections.

Philip Klein, a reporter with The American Specator, describes the pressure he once faced from union organizers and capably lays out the partisan rationale behind the push for a House vote. Klein states an obvious point:

If unions believe that workers would benefit from their representation, they have no reason to fear submitting themselves to the democratic process in a secret ballot election, but instead they prefer coercion.

Phil Kerpen, policy director of Americans for Prosperity, explains in this column that labor is pushing the undemocratic card-check legislation out of desperation in the face of declining union membership. He argues:

The world is changing. The economy is more competitive than ever, and companies compete not just for customers but for workers. Unemployment is at historic lows and companies everywhere are recruiting aggressively. The sharp decline in private-sector union membership, down from 20.1 percent in 1980 to just 7.4 percent in 2006, has coincided with a prolonged period of booming economic growth and rising standards of living.

Can unions adapt to make themselves attractive to private-sector workers in the 21st century? If they can, workers will vote for them in federally supervised, secret-ballot elections. If they can’t, they deserve to continue on their slow march to extinction.

And if Congress rigs the rules to force workers to accept unions they don’t want, union bosses will win and workers will lose.

All three pieces are worthy contributions to the debate, but the best place to start is the Heritage essay, which demolishes labor’s arguments about employer wrongdoing.