Checking Back on Card Check

By March 6, 2007Labor Unions

The Heritage Foundation continues to bore into the full text of H.R. 800, the preposterously named Employee Free Choice Act, in this new analysis examining the binding arbitration provisions. It’s a very useful essay on how the card-check legislation is a lousy deal for employees. Co-author Paul Kersey of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an expert on binding arbitration, writes from a Michigan perspective but makes an important larger point.

The typical arbitration process in Michigan takes nearly 15 months. This poses serious problems for employers, who must prepare for the possibility of back pay awards while waiting for an arbitrator’s decision. The possibility of a 15-month wait for a raise is not a particularly good situation for workers either, because the wait involves months of uncertainty and of working without knowing how much they are actually earning. And in states that do not have a right-to-work law, the arbitrator’s ruling is almost guaranteed to have a forced-dues provision, because forced dues are relatively common in collective bargaining agreements, and arbitrators are likely to follow this widespread precedent. This means that even workers who are dissatisfied with their unions’ representation would have to pay dues to it.

No secret-ballot elections and mandatory dues. Where’s the free choice in that?

Elsewhere, we’ve already noted Sen. Barack Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement of card check. It comes as no suprise, but former Sen. John Edwards has also made this anti-democratic measure a central piece of his presidential campaign. From a statement.

We need to make it easier for workers to organize themselves into unions. If a Republican can join the Republican Party by signing their name to a card, any worker in America ought to be able to join a union by doing exactly the same thing.

What a perfect analogy! A bunch of GOP organizers stand over you, intimidate you into signing a card to join the party, and then force you to remain in that party through the weight of federal enforcement. Splendid, splendid thinking. Almost lawyeresque.