NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 17, 2008

Organized labor wants to do away with campaigns and secret ballots when it comes to workers who are deciding whether to form a union.  Taking away these democratic principles is not the answer to declining union membership, says USA Today.

Under the current system, once 30 percent of a company's workers sign union authorization cards, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administers a confidential vote, typically 39 days after it receives the cards, then, the union and employer campaign for votes.  However, the "Employee Free Choice Act," which passed the House in 2007 but still needs a president who will sign it, states that when more than 50 percent of employees sign authorization cards, the NLRB would have to recognize the new union.


  • 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.
  • The AFL-CIO argues that the proposed law wouldn't prohibit private balloting, but this is misleading; union organizers would have no reason to seek an election if they had union cards signed by more than 50 percent of workers.
  • And if they had less than a majority, they would be unlikely to call for a vote they would probably lose.

Furthermore, 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, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "Our view on labor laws: No way to form a union," USA Today, October 16, 2008.


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