The cloture motion was filed yesterday evening on H.R. 800, the egregiously misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, and a vote is now scheduled for Thursday. Developments and observations:
At a Take Back America labor rally, Senator Ted Kennedy, D-MA, compares the Employee Free Choice Act to the Mayflower Compact. He also tears up a full-page ad that criticizes the legislation, a sign of dramatic repudiation — just as the Employee Free Choice Act is a dramatic repudiation of workplace democracy and the secret ballot.
Expecting the federal card-check legislation to fail, Big Labor has been pushing similar anti-democratic measures at the state level. Bret Jacobson of the Center for Union Facts has a column in the Eugene Register-Guard on the state of affairs in Oregon. Makes one long for Vic Atiyeh.
In California, the labor unions are pressuring the Indian tribes with casinos in a similar fashion. They’re demanding card-check neutrality, which means employers cannot express their First Amendment views on union contracts.
Liberals get their groove back. So does Howard Dean. Yaaaargh!
The Birmingham News makes the case against the bill succinctly:
THE ISSUE: Organized labor has been having trouble getting new members in recent years, so the unions are hoping Congress gives them permission to intimidate workers by taking away the secret ballot.
NAM Chairman Chuck Bunch sent a letter (available here) to U.S. Senators this week urging a no vote on the bill. In addition to the points about secret ballots, he notes:
The so-called Employee Free Choice Act is anything but an act that would encourage employees to make free choices. In fact, it’s a dangerous invitation for labor unions to intimidate workers into joining their ranks.
Moreover, the compulsory, binding arbitration mandated in the legislation would give the government unprecedented power over private contract negotiations. Making a government-appointed arbitration panel the primary decision-maker about wages and benefit terms between private-sector workers and employers raises serious constitutional issues and further erodes the competitive capabilities of American manufacturers. Our industry is already saddled with structural costs more than 30 percent higher than our global competitors.
In our new era of bad ideas, the Employee Free Choice Act is one of the worst. We encourage everyone to contact their Senators urging a no vote on cloture on Thursday. To do so, please go the NAM’s resource page here.