NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 14, 2008

Organized labor spent heavily to elect a Democratic Congress in America's 2006 election.  With the presidency at stake, unions are expected to spend up to $360 million by November, more than twice as much as four years ago.  At the top of labor's agenda is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would deny employees the opportunity to vote before a union takes over their workplace, says Doug Bandow, vice president of Policy for Citizen Outreach and the Bastiat scholar in Free Enterprise at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

  • Today organized labor represents just 7.5 percent of private employees.
  • Labor officials blame their woes on the fact that they must win a secret ballot to force company recognition.
  • So organized labor proposes doing away with elections if 50 percent of the workers plus one sign a card.

According to Bandow:

  • Unions dislike secret ballots, which protect workers from retaliation for rejecting representation.
  • In contrast, labor organizers find it much easier to mislead and harass workers to sign a union card.

Bruce Raynor of the union UNITE HERE says simply: ``There's no need to subject the workers to an election.''  Ironically, a Zogby poll found that 84 percent of union members believed in certification elections.

EFCA didn't go anywhere this year. But come November, the Democrats are likely to increase their margins in Congress, even possibly reaching a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

Congress should reject card check on its merits. American workers are entitled to a secret ballot over unionization, says Bandow.

Moreover, abandoning workplace elections would allow organized labor to intimidate its way to greater power and money which would, in turn, be used to promote a left-wing economic agenda.  The U.S. public would pay a high price for years to come, says Bandow.

Source: Doug Bandow, "Card Check: Key to Union Control in U.S.," Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 7, 2008.

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