With Democrats soon to be in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, organized labor has begun to flex its muscles.
At the top of their legislative priority list is the Employee Free Choice Act, better known as the Card Check Bill. This bill could have devastating consequences for glass shops nationwide. Even the smallest shops could be affected.
The bill (H.R. 800, S. 1041) is designed to simplify and short-circuit the long-established union-organizing process. Blocked in the Senate in 2007, labor made support of the bill a litmus test for candidates it backed in the recent elections. You can be sure those elected officials will now be called upon to make good on their pledges of support.
The Card Check Bill will substantially change the process for union organizing, giving organized labor an unfair advantage. Currently, if organizers collect signatures from at least 30 percent of employees in a given bargaining unit, an election by secret ballot is held by the National Labor Relations Board to determine whether to certify the union. The secret ballot ensures that workers will not be intimidated into voting one way or the other, either by management or labor.
The new bill would shortcut the process by certifying the union as soon as a majority of signed authorization cards is collected. No secret ballot. No organizing campaign during which employees can weigh all sides of the issue and make an informed decision. Instead, union organizers would be in a position to potentially bully and coerce employees into signing the card on-site.
That’s hardly what we call “free choice,” as the bill’s formal title would have you believe.
Among other objectionable provisions, the bill would increase penalties for employers who violate union organizing laws. Curiously, penalties on unions would not be increased.
Even companies in Right to Work states will be affected by this law, as organizing campaigns would become cheaper and easier to wage.
The NGA strongly opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, and encourages our members to get informed on the issue and its implications for their business. At a time when some of the finest firms are teetering on the brink of insolvency, largely due to the burdensome provisions of their outdated and uncompetitive labor agreements, this is no time for organized labor to expand its reach.
It’s never too early to write your congressmen, asking that they oppose the bill when it is brought forward. You may also wish to write the editor of your local paper to express your concerns with this ill-advised bill that would unfairly tilt the playing field toward organized labor to the detriment of your business and your local economy.
Most importantly, we encourage our members to keep an open line of communication with their employees, listening to their concerns and addressing them promptly and thoroughly. After all, the best way to avoid a successful organizing campaign is to maintain a positive relationship with your workers.
—David Walker, Vice President of Association Services, National Glass Association