Card Check: It Works Both Ways

By November 21, 2008Labor Unions

A former NLRB member and now labor lawyer, Peter Kirsanow blogs over at NRO’s The Corner , noting the NAACP’s endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act and pointing out some of the consequences of a card check system that its proponents  might not have considered.

Joe is one of 7 blacks out of 38 workers at a casting plant. He doesn’t have much seniority because he just came to the plant after working for the last 12 years at a bearings manufacturer that recently closed.

 Joe suspects most of his co-workers don’t want a union because they’ve seen other plants in the area shut down operations and move to states with lower average labor costs. Joe’s in favor of the union because he thinks it will mean higher wages for someone like him.

 Joe’s the only black employee on second shift. At lunch one day, a co-worker approaches him and in front of everyone in the break room asks Joe to sign an authorization card. Joe begins to reach for a pen but hesitates when he senses his co-workers watching him. He declines to sign.

 EFCA could put any employee in the uncomfortable position of making a public declaration that might be opposed by his employer, co-workers, or union organizers. The fact that the employee is new or a minority in the workplace doesn’t do much to lessen that discomfort. You’d think that if any organization would recognize that fact it would be one that purports to advance the interests of minorities.

It’s unfortunate that groups like the NAACP who have been such adamant champions of protecting voting rights would now wish to  abandon the secret ballot, in the process exposing workers to intimidation in the workplace.

Leave a Reply