Check card legislation introduced in Congress
Mar 16, 2009 11:38 AM
Legislation that would allow workers to form unions without voting in private ballots--action that some have labeled an attack on democracy by eliminating the secret ballot--has been introduced into the House and Senate.
“The legislation takes away a worker's right to a secret ballot in union organizing--a right that this free nation was built on and a right that is part of our history and democracy,” Sen John Ensign (R-Nevada) said in a news release. “Instead, it provides a card check process, which could lead to aggressive intimidation tactics by union bosses.”
The Employee Free Choice Act would allow workers to to form a union through majority sign-up by the use of a "card check" procedure.
If eventually approved, the measure would stiffen penalties against employers that illegally fire or discriminate against workers for their union activity during an organizing or first contract drive, including requiring employers to pay treble back pay to workers whom they are found to have illegally fired. It also would allow employers and newly formed unions to refer bargaining to mediation and, if necessary, binding arbitration if they are not able to agree on a first contract, according to Senate information.
Opponents of the legislation include the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD).
ATA said in a posting on its Web site that it is encouraging its members to voice their opposition to card check proposal and to contact their elected officials in the House and Senate about the negative effects that the legislation would have on the trucking industry and the business community as a whole.
ATA added that if the proposal is approved, an employer could not request a secret ballot vote to verify the worker’s desire to join a union after 50 percent of the workforce signed union representation cards.
"As ATA members know, trucking companies are unique employers, usually in contact with drivers through electronic dispatch every couple of days," ATA stated. "A system that does not provide a secret ballot vote to validate the signed authorization cards opens the door to driver intimidation and coercion by union organizers."
NACD issued a press release, stating: "By replacing private ballots with a public card check procedure, this legislation would strip workers of their privacy in making a decision on whether or not they want to be represented by a union. "Rather than having the right to a confidential ballot, workers would have their signatures or non-signatures of the cards made public to union organizers, their employers, and their co-workers, leaving them vulnerable to threats and intimidation from union leaders, management, or both."
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