Card Check: Stealth Campaigns Obscure Real Choice

By March 27, 2007Labor Unions

John Raudabaugh is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board who now chairs the U.S. Labor and Employment Law Practice for Baker & McKenzie, LLP. He’s a noted expert in neutrality and card-check agreements, having previously testified to Congress on the topic.

On March 13th Raudabaugh addressed a Federalist Society forum in Washington on H.R. 800, the perfidiously named Employee Free Choice Act, punching light-shining holes through advocates’ arguments for the card-check bill. His discussion of the impact of the legislation’s binding arbitration provisions is worthwhile, as is the hair-raising descriptions of union intimidation.

But we were struck by his point that, by superseding elections, the card-check process allows a stealth unionizing campaign, meant to prevent the presentation of both sides of the case.

To make a “free “choice”, you must be (1) informed to enable a choice and (2) you must be able to register that choice free of any pressure. Labor’s bill – the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” – eliminates both critical elements. Card-check campaigns are, more often than not, conducted by stealth for the purpose of not attracting attention that would prompt counterinformation.

Labor’s card-check is not like a Labor Board secret-ballot – the union card-check solicits a “YES” only decision. And, signing a card in front of a union organizer where the only choice is “YES”, even without overt inducements, threats, or coercion, is not without peer pressure.

Labor’s and its Party’s “Employee Free Choice Act” requires no notice of the inception of a card campaign. Labor’s bill provides no limit on the length of a union’s card campaign. With a stealth card campaign, the only information to come forward, to help educate the employee whether to sign the card comes from Labor. Like any membership or purchase, a rational individual wants (and needs) to know how much it costs, what are the comparative advantages/disadvantages, how/when can one cancel, opt-out, or resign, and so forth.

Thanks to Union Facts blog for bringing Mr. Raudabaugh’s speech to our attention. You can read the entire text here in .pdf format.