The New Old ‘Card Check’

Politicians don’t typically broadcast their defeat, and when they do it pays to watch for the blindside hit. That’s surely the case with last week’s reports that six liberal Senators are abandoning part of labor’s top priority, “card check” legislation.

The legislation to eliminate secret ballots in union elections has in fact been comatose for weeks, since Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas declared their opposition. So the real purpose of this “concession” is to shift to Plan B, which is to repackage most of what labor wants with new ribbons and wrapping. The bill that Senators Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Mr. Specter and others are now considering would still give unions the whip hand in negotiations with management.

One proposal would slash the time for an organizing vote, requiring that it be held within five or 10 days after 30% of workers had signed cards asking for a union. The median time today is 38 days. Organizers want the rush because they know the more time workers have to learn about a union, the less they usually want one. Once employees hear the other side of the story, support dwindles.

This also explains a Big Labor demand to bar companies from requiring their workers to hear management’s side during a union campaign. Labor supporters say this creates a “captive audience,” but these meetings are one of management’s few opportunities to address workers, since companies are barred from the sort of outreach allowed to union organizers — such as visiting employees at home. At the same time, Senators want to give union organizers access to company property.

Much more at the link.

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