USA Today: No Card-Check
A win for Obama and big gains for Senate Democrats could remove the remaining obstacles to the euphemistically named “Employee Free Choice Act.”
Cajoled choice is more like it. The proposed change would give unions and pro-union employees more incentive to use peer pressure, or worse, to persuade reluctant workers to sign their cards. And without elections, workers who weren’t contacted by union organizers would have no say in the final outcome.
Labor leaders, such as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in the space below, argue that the proposed law wouldn’t prohibit private balloting. This is accurate but misleading. Union organizers would have no reason to seek an election if they had union cards signed by more than 50% of workers. And if they had less than a majority, they’d be unlikely to call for a vote they’d probably lose.
The legislation has other questionable provisions as well. For example, once a union is formed, if labor and management can’t agree on a contract, a federal arbitration board would be called on to go beyond the normal role of facilitating talks and actually dictate terms.
Labor has seen its role decline since the 1950s, when about a third of all private sector employees belonged to unions, compared with about 7.5% today. So it’s understandably eager to find ways to expand membership, particularly at a time when workers are feeling economically vulnerable. But undermining democratic principles is not the answer.