Card Check: Bullying, Bullying, Bullying

By March 11, 2009Labor Unions

From The Wall Street Journal, “The Union Cudgel“:

Big Labor’s drive to eliminate secret ballots for union elections has united American business in opposition, so labor chiefs are putting on the brass knuckles: The new strategy is to threaten companies with government retaliation if they don’t stop lobbying against turning U.S. labor markets into Europe.

We wrote on February 13 about the letter from the labor consortium Change to Win to the Financial Services Roundtable, demanding that banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program money keep quiet about union “card check.” To its credit, the banking lobby hasn’t backed down. Now Big Labor is escalating, demanding in a February 23 letter to Secretary Timothy Geithner that Treasury muzzle the companies if they won’t muzzle themselves.

Elsewhere, labor’s incessant attacks are having their effect in the coverage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Look at the circumlocution the Washington Post writer (or editor) used in trying to describe the impact of the legislation. From “Clash Over Labor-Rights Bill Appears Likely“:

The bill would allow employees to form unions by getting a majority of workers to sign cards, without having to hold a secret ballot; at present, it is up to employers to decide whether workers must hold an election or organize via “card check.”

Not so. Is is NOT up to employers, at least not always.

When union organizers gather 30 to 50 percent of a worksite’s employee signatures on representation cards, they can request a federally supervised election conducted via secret ballot. Above 50 percent, the employer gains the ability to request an NLRB-run election.

There’s nothing stopping unions from requesting an election under the current law. Nothing in the law, that is. As a practical matter, unions will not request an election without 65 percent or more of a worksite’s employee signature cards because they know they’ll lose a secret-ballot vote.

We’re sympathetic to the reporters. Really. Any short description that even suggests the secret ballot would be eliminated will draw attack after attack. (See these Examiner comments for an example.) After a while, the union charges of “liar, liar, liar,” wear you down and you avoid the descriptions.

But that’s the point of the tactic. Rather than debate the legislation honestly, organized labor wants to avoid core issues — the secret ballot, binding arbitration — and instead talk about “fostering the middle class” and “workers choice.” And woe to you if you depart from that script.

Given this modus operandi of bullying, is it any wonder employees fear the very public “card check” process?


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