Federal ‘Card Check’ Introduced, State Proposal Advances

03.13.2009
Issues & Policies

With a proposal to make it easier for labor unions to organize in workplaces now introduced in Congress, the state legislature continues to consider a related measure.

Card-check proposals basically enable labor unions to form in a workplace simply by collecting signed petitions (or “cards”) from a majority of employees indicating that they favor organizing a union and designating a particular labor union to represent their interests.

Not ‘free choice’
Deceptively titled the “Employee Free Choice Act,” the federal bill would actually make an employee’s choice anything but free—virtually eliminating the secret-ballot voting currently governed and monitored under the National Labor Relations Act.

The same employees who vote by secret ballot for the president of the United States and all other state and federal offices would be forced to vote in public on the question of unionization.

Although political activists can’t approach any voter within 100 feet of the polls in general elections, that basic protection would be denied employees in the union-organizing process.

Nevertheless, President Obama has told labor unions that he supports passage of federal card-check legislation.

Already preempted
HB-6534, approved by the Labor Committee, is a flawed proposal that would create a union card signing election process for state employees. Although it also grants the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations the authority to handle complaints regarding union card elections, this authority is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, which sets a formal process for employees to either chose or to reject a union through a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Unfair labor practices and complaints regarding the union election process are exclusively handled by the NLRB.

What’s more, as drafted, HB-6534 applies only to state employees, but is certain to be expanded to the private sector.

An employee’s decision about joining a union is an important and personal one—one that should be made privately. Card-check would force employees to make a public, face-to-face decision—increasing the odds that those decisions would be made without adequate information and with significant potential for employees to be pressured into signing the cards.

CBIA opposes card-check proposals because they hand labor organizations a considerable and unfair advantage in the workplace, allowing them to easily organize employees without government safeguards that protect employers and workers alike.

n this very difficult economy, many Connecticut employers are doing everything they can just to stay open; card-check proposals will make it harder for them to succeed.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860-244-1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.  

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