Card Check: WSJ Lambastes Those Who Misquote It

By March 27, 2009Labor Unions

The Wall Street Journal today editorializes on a topic that’s naturally close to its heart: the shameless misrepresentation of the paper’s position on the Employee Free Choice Act. As we’ve written here, here, and here, the SEIU, the House Education and Labor Committee, and union front groups seized this sentence from a  WSJ editorial, “Unionize or Die,” stating clear, unambiguous opposition: “The bill doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act but in practice makes it a dead letter.”

The  card check advocates turned the sentence into an endorsement by hacking it half. An SEIU blog post proclaimed, “Wall Street Journal: Employee Free Choice Act ‘does not remove the secret ballot’,” citing as evidence, “‘The bill doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act,’ wrote the WSJ.”

Today the Journal responds, “George Miller Loves Us –Too bad he and Big Labor can’t read.”

These guys must really be desperate. As we’ve written many times, “card check” effectively ends secret-ballot elections because it would allow labor organizers to automatically organize a work site if more than 50% of workers sign an authorization card. Thus our words: “dead letter.”

Currently, an employer can insist on a secret-ballot election if 30% of employees sign union cards. But under this proposal, if more than 50% of the authorization cards are signed, there is no election because union recognition is instant. In theory, the bill would allow for an employee to request a secret-ballot vote if cards have been signed by between 31% and 50% of workers. But only the organizers know how many cards have been signed, and they have no incentive to tell the company or employees. Why would unions risk a secret ballot when they can publicly pressure employees into signing an authorization card?

Which is to say that the claim that “card check” would preserve secret-ballot elections is deeply dishonest. Big Labor is afraid that its big chance to rewrite labor law to diminish worker rights is slipping away, as more Americans discover what the bill really says. Thus Mr. Miller’s creative editing, which should embarrass him, if he were capable of being embarrassed.

We await the next half-page American Rights at Work ad based on the paragraph above: “Wall Street Journal admits, “‘Card check’ would preserve secret-ballot elections.

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