Card Check: Why It Matters to the Economy, Innovation

By March 16, 2009Economy, Labor Unions

The malignly misnamed Employee Free Choice Act has a constant topic on this blog for more than two years, so we’ve often summarized the legislation’s potential impact on the employees, the economy and the American system of government. Lately, though, the talk has turned to the politics and tactics involving the measure and less about what the bill would actually do, all important topics for those versed in the card check debate, but too insidery for the general reader.

So today, a reminder of what would happen if the legislation passes, allowing organized labor to force union membership onto more and more companies and their employees. From The Washington Post business story, “Local Tech Community In Uproar Over Labor Rights Bill“:

S. Bradford Antle, chief executive of McLean-based SI International, which provides information-technology services to the government, said the bill would “place the government in the middle of negotiations between employees and management.”

“A lot of the work we do is very team-oriented,” he said. “If all of a sudden you have a layer of bureaucracy that has a different set of rules for hiring, firing and rewarding employees, that’s going to stifle creativity and our ability to innovate.”

The reporter, Kim Hart, spends four paragraph explaining the substance of the bill. That’s a lot of space for basic backround in any news story these days, but clearly necessary in this case. Maybe in all cases…

From CCH Internet Research, “Most Americans ‘in the dark’ about Employee Free Choice Act

Despite millions of dollars already spent on both sides of the issue, three-quarters of Americans are completely in the dark over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), legislation touted by labor unions as a way to increase unionization and improve the lives of middle-class America, according to the Employment Law Alliance (ELA), the world’s largest network of labor and employment lawyers. And American workers are sharply divided over its merits, according to ELA’s latest national poll.

The poll asked 1,288 working men and women across the United States about their awareness of the EFCA, views on its major elements, and its potential impact on the workplace and the economy. The results may cause business leaders to refocus their extensive outreach efforts. “They should be concerned that so few Americans are even aware of the EFCA, the most sweeping proposed labor law reform of this generation,” said Bruce R. Alper, ELA’s Illinois representative and founding member. “This sort of ignorance gives union organizers a distinct advantage.”

According to ELA’s findings:

  • Only one-quarter reported that they were aware of the EFCA.
  • Slightly over one-quarter (26 percent) say they support the EFCA, and nearly as many (24 percent) oppose it.
  • Fewer than one-third (30 percent) of those surveyed support replacing a secret-ballot election with a “card check” system to determine union representation; 35 percent were opposed.
  • Asked about the use of government-supervised, binding arbitration to settle a contract in the event of a deadlock, 37 percent favor this while 22 percent were opposed.
  • Gauging a possible “Obama factor,” 30 percent said they were more likely to back the EFCA if the President supported it.

We’re not sure of the value of any results once it’s revealed that the public is not informed about the issue. Still, this survey reaffirms the importance for opponents of the anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act not to get so caught up in the political machinations as to ignore the substance of the bill and the harm its passage would wreak upon the economy.

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