Card Check: Machinations Upon Machinations

By July 20, 2009Labor Unions

The flogging of the “Senate Dems drop card check” story to the New York Times certainly brought renewed attention to the Employee Free Choice Act’s political prospects, which was probably the goal of the labor lobbyist(s) who were pushing the news.  At least people are talking about the bill now instead of just assuming the whole thing is dead. Smart.

Binding arbitration is still to be included in the legislation, if we are to believe labor’s spin, along with quick “ambush elections” and limits on employers being able to express their views.

Some reactions…

Walter Olson, Point of Law, “EFCA ‘compromise’, the latest round“:

The miscellaneous provisions are probably the biggest political danger to bill opponents. Both card check and compulsory arbitration are relatively easily grasped as drastic changes in the existing labor-law regime for private workplaces, and both can be effectively criticized as curtailing worker choice (arbitration would impose new working conditions not just without management’s consent, but also without a vote by workers). On the other hand, proposals that can be presented as merely increasing penalties for violations tend to go down easy in our system, and many of the other ideas can be couched as if there were incremental adjustments in things like the speed or logistics of elections — even if their cumulative effect might prove drastic.

Wall Street Journal editorial, “The New Old ‘Card Check’“:

One proposal would slash the time for an organizing vote, requiring that it be held within five or 10 days after 30% of workers had signed cards asking for a union. The median time today is 38 days. Organizers want the rush because they know the more time workers have to learn about a union, the less they usually want one. Once employees hear the other side of the story, support dwindles.

This also explains a Big Labor demand to bar companies from requiring their workers to hear management’s side during a union campaign. Labor supporters say this creates a “captive audience,” but these meetings are one of management’s few opportunities to address workers, since companies are barred from the sort of outreach allowed to union organizers — such as visiting employees at home. At the same time, Senators want to give union organizers access to company property.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary, “Card Check Lite“:

Once again, we can only gape in awe at the misplaced priorities of certain Senate leaders. The economy is sputtering and we are bleeding jobs, but the Senate is dreaming up new ways to pummel employers. Surtaxes, energy taxes, mandatory arbitration, and on it goes. Quite a list. (Where do they think the jobs are going to come from?) If you wanted to make America an undesirable place to locate new businesses in or to expand your payroll, you’d be hard pressed to match the agenda coming out of Congress.

More good commentary and reviews at

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