USA Today Reporter: 'Card Check' in Union Organizing Is an 'Open Process'
In an article Wednesday about organized labor's legislative goals for the 110th Congress, USA Today's Sue Kirchoff mischaracterizes a law that would move the union organizing process away from secret-ballot elections, and makes it sound like an improvement in representative government (bold is mine):
The AFL-CIO ..... is looking ahead to a second bill that sponsors call the "Employee Free Choice Act."
The bill would make it easier for unions to gain representation through an open process in which workers sign cards, in addition to secret ballot elections. Currently, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret ballot after a union or employer meets requirements to seek one. An employer can also recognize a union if a majority of workers sign authorizing cards.
..... "The bill would allow more workers to bargain for their entry into the American middle class," says Stewart Acuff, AFL-CIO national organizing director.
About 70% to 80% of new workers organized every year come into unions via a process other than traditional elections, a big shift from 5% about 20 years ago. Unions say that under the traditional ballot process, companies often try to delay the process or intimidate workers.
The first sentence of the second paragraph of the excerpt makes it appear as if card-signing AND secret-ballot elections would take place under the new law, when in fact it is one or the other. In practical terms, the bill in question will eliminate secret-ballot elections in most contested situations, because union organizers will prefer the peer pressure-driven method of getting workers to sign authorizing cards.
Ms. Kirchoff's article also fails to explain why the bill is even necessary in light of the move away from "traditional elections."
Yes, what supporters are calling "card check" is an "open process" -- "open" to intimidation and coercion, the very thing union organizers amazingly claim is somehow built into a secret-ballot election later in Kirchoff's article. Going unexplained is how someone can be intimidated when casting their ballot in secret in an election closely supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.
The Orwellian-named "Employee Free Choice Act" will eliminate free choice in many, if not most, organizing situations. It overturns the secret ballot process that organized labor's forefathers fought long and hard for in the 1930s, in effect making it a betrayal of one of the greatest legacies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The New Deal. Back then, the belief was that employers usually had intimidation and coercion working in their favor, and that secret ballot protections were necessary to prevent those influences from being effective.
Now organized labor appears to want its cake and to eat it too: It will go for "card check" when they think they have the upper hand in applying organizing pressure, and secret ballots when they don't. "Free Choice" would appear to have very little to do with any of this.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.