The Grand Rapid Press enters a common sense editorial for worker protection and against union intimidation with a policy editorial against the Card-Check Forced Unionism Bill that will be introduced in the Congress this week:
Every American should have a government-protected right to join a labor union. But there must be an equal opportunity to not join. Michigan’s congressional Democrats seem to need the reminder. Last year, all of them supported a bill that would sharply reduce worker freedom in choosing to be represented by a union or not. The proposed change is coming around again, a top priority of the new Democratic leadership.
The reform — ironically called the Employee Free Choice Act — would let unions organize employees without secret-ballot elections. The change to a union shop instead would occur via a so-called card check, in which union organizers would approach workers at the work site, at home or elsewhere and solicit signatures favoring union representation. If signatures of a majority of workers were collected, the workplace would be organized and the union would become the bargaining agent for all of the workers.
The key element is the absence of a secret ballot. Current federal law stipulates that if a majority of workers sign petitions for a union representation election, such a vote is held under the neutrality rules and oversight of the National Labor Relations Board. The workers decide for themselves via the secret ballot — no one looking over their shoulders, marking down positions or otherwise lifting eyebrows. The card-check process is the opposite: no privacy and therefore vulnerable to intimidation, strong-arming and retribution.
The origin of this move is that union rolls have been in a free fall for decades. Unions currently represent only 12.5 percent of the U.S. workforce, 8 percent of private-employer workers. Repeated losses in representation elections have built pressure on Democrats to tip the balance with the card-check tactic.
Unfortunately, the plan has considerable chance of success. Last year, 44 senators and more than 200 House members co-sponsored it. Included were both of Michigan’s senators — Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing — and all of the state’s Democratic House members and one Republican, then-Rep. John Schwarz of Battle Creek.
This isn’t a matter of opposing unions . . . . The issue instead is worker freedom. Union leaders and the Democrats running the card-check errand — certainly Sens. Levin and Stabenow — ought to explain why they are so afraid of secret ballots.
The bill is expected to be introduced and heard in a House Committee this Thursday. Readers can contact their members of Congress and urge them to oppose Big Labors’ Card Check Forced Unionism Bill by clicking here.
(Clicking on the search button, after entering the name of your state under the Legislative Alerts section near the bottom of the web page on the left side, will take you directly to a list of your state’s members of Congress. Then click on the e-mail link to the Senate or House member you wish to contact.)