Card Check: If You Cut Us, Do We Not Bleed?

By July 5, 2007Labor Unions

A letter to the editor in the Elmira (N.Y.) Star-Gazette attacking Representative Randy Kuhl, R-NY, for voting against the Employee Free Card Check, has a great, great headline:

Kuhl supports business, not individuals

However amusing on its face, the headline accurately and sadly reflects the tenor of the letter, whose writer appears not to understand that businesses is made up of individuals.

Rep. Kuhl and all the other members of Congress who opposed H.R. 800, the card check legislation, voted to respect individual rights when they rejected labor’s priority legislation — they protected employees’ democratic access to a secret ballot in the workplace, and they protected employers from having a small minority force union membership on companies against the majority of employees’ will. Our congratulations and thanks to Kuhl et al.

Although the bill’s dead for this year, we’ll continue to pay attention to it; the how-could-they-name-it the Employee Free Choice Act is bound to be an issue in the 2008 campaigns.

So we’ll cite an editorial column from the generally pro-labor Los Angeles Times:

The bill would have allowed organizers to secure bargaining rights as soon as a majority of workers at a workplace sign an authorization card. Under current law, employers have the option of insisting on a secret ballot election.

You don’t have to be an apologist for employers to recognize that the so-called card-check system invites abuses. Of course employers shouldn’t be able to punish workers for wanting to join a union. But neither should union organizers be able to pressure unwilling or hesitant co-workers to authorize a union.

As The Times editorial board has observed, the bedrock principle of federal labor law is not unionism at all costs, but the right of workers to choose whether they want to affiliate with a union.


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