Card Check: How About This Phrasing?

By March 17, 2009Labor Unions

Among the descriptions we’ve seen:

The Employee Free Choice Act….

  • Makes it easier for workers to join a union
  • Eliminates secret ballot elections for employees when a union attempts to organize a workplace
  • Gives workers a choice whether to organize through card check or a secret-ballot election.

Mickey Kaus notes the Washington Post’s painfully structured, “The bill, first introduced in 2003, gives workers the choice of whether they want to organize by getting a majority of workers to sign pro-union cards, instead of having to hold secret-ballot elections.”

Kaus offers instead:

[There] would appear to be a short, clear and honest way of describing the bill, which is that it “eliminates management’s ability to insist on a secret ballot election before recognizing a union.” We card check opponents don’t like this description because it emphasizes management’s rights, not workers’ privacy rights. Card check supporters don’t like the description because it is accurate.

Newspapers and other journalists probably lean toward the union-favored phrasing because the labor sources and angry e-mailers will harass them for ever daring to use the phase “effectively eliminates secret ballot elections.” Reporters and editors have been beaten into submission. Would be our guess.

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