What Does that Employee Free Choice Act Do?

By March 18, 2008Labor Unions

From the Baton Rouge Advocate, a story about the campaign of Don Cazayoux, a Democrat running in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, holding a special election after the resignation of Richard Baker. Cazayoux (what a great Louisiana name) spoke at the AFL-CIO’s state convention.

Cazayoux, a state representative, said he believes a strong union movement is vital for a strong economy.

He promised to support the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007, which backers say would amend the National Labor Relations Act to enable employees to form, join or assist labor organizations more efficiently and provide harsher penalties for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts.

The act passed through the U.S. House and is awaiting discussion in the U.S. Senate.

Not to pick on the reporter, who had a limited amount of space to work with and might have been new to the issue. And she did attribute the description of the Employee Free Choice Act, so it’s not an inaccurate passage. (Except for the bit about it awaiting discussion in the Senate. H.R. 800 failed to gain cloture in the Senate last June, so it’s dead for now.)

But it IS incomplete. Readers would be well served by learning what the bill actually does: It eliminates the secret ballot in the workplace, allowing unions to gain recognition through “card check,” a process in which organizers collect employee signatures on cards. Employees lose the right to make their decisions in private, instead becoming subject to all sorts of immediate pressure and intimidation by organizers to sign the cards.

We think a large majority of the public will react with revulsion when they discover that the unions want to destroy the secret ballot. The unions probably think so too, which is why they rarely discuss the actually workings of card check in a general audience.

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