Card Check: Wait — It Gets Worse

By March 1, 2007Labor Unions

As if tossing democracy on the scrap heap isn’t bad enough, a lesser-known provision of the anti-democracy card check bill is almost as troubling. We said, “almost.”

While they’re at it — turning democracy on its ear — the Dems decided to go one better and fix all of the unions’ problems in one fell swoop. After all, the unions paid a lot for this. Once unions organize a group of people, they sit down with the employer and try to negotiate a first contract. As you might imagine, the unions come in with a list of demands a mile long — not only for pay and benefits, but also for their style of work, work rules, job classifications, etc. Never mind that American — and indeed global — business has been moving away from labor’s rigid model of work, the unions typically demand it all. And so first contracts can be very difficult to negotiate as the cultures clash. This frustrates the unions, who want it all done, and done quickly.

Enter the Employee Free Choice Act. Yeah, they can fix that, too. Section 3 of the bill provides that the parities negotiate the first contract for 90 days, after which time they notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The FMCS works for 30 additional days and then turns it over to an panel of arbitrators for binding arbitration. The arbitrators’ contract is binding for two years.

Understand that no arbitrator makes a living by thinking outside the box. Their job is to stay between the lines or they’ll never get picked by the parties — this union — ever again. And so if there’s an industry pattern, they’ll pick it and mandate it, they just will, they just do. Them’s the plain facts, as every practitioner knows. This allows zero flexibility in terms of setting one’s own work rules or conditions of employment. It forces the group into the “prevailing” pattern which, of course, is the “union” pattern. That’s how this provision got into this bill in the first place. Picture getting a little clearer…?

So if you didn’t already have enough reason to oppose this boneheaded bill, now you have one more reason: The mandated hamstringing of American business into pattern union contracts, further limiting our ability to compete. Click here to tell your Member of Congress you just learned of one more reason to oppose this bill.