Card Check Unions, and Maybe More, Come to Rhode Island
The House of Representatives Labor Committee is hearing a bill today on card-check unionization for public employees (H5134). Under the proposed law, secret ballot elections during a unionization process could be bypassed by public employees, if 70% of the members of potential bargaining unit publicly affix their signatures to “authorization cards”. No analogous card-check procedure for decertification of a public employee union is provided for in the proposed law.
If I may be informal, one question raised by the introduction of this bill is “why bother”, i.e. how much further does public employee unionization have to go in Rhode Island? When I put that question to an individual familiar with various issues of interest to Rhode Islanders, the response was to point me to a clause that would be added to the definitions section of the law…
(9) “Public Employee” includes an individual employed by the state, subdivision of the state, or quasi-public entities.Currently, there is no explicit definition of “public employee” in the law, and given the location of this clause, this new definition would extend not only the card-check provision to employees of quasi-public entities, it would extend the entire labor relations act to the employees of quasi-public entities.
So how far, exactly, would adding quasi-public agencies expand the scope of public-employee unionization in Rhode Island?