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Friday
Jan162009

Beware of Congress - Part 1

Be afraid . . . be very afraid . . .

Congratulations to the Democrats. Their party won the White House and increased their majorities in both the United States Congress and the United States Senate.

 At a time of economic crisis, conflicting messages are being sent. On the one hand, both parties in Washington talk about stimulating the economy. On the other, the majority has indicated that other bills that will increase the costs and risks of doing business are also top legislative priorities.

The first among these priorities is called Card Check. The official name, in true Orwellian fashion, is the Employee Free Choice Act.

This is the bill that would allow organizers to force a union on your business without a vote. Instead of the American tradition of a secret ballot, a labor union could be forced upon you with simple signed authorization cards collected from a majority of your employees.

That’s right, teams of “organizers” could confront your employees one at a time and pressure them until they sign a card in public. Once a majority of your employees sign, you have a union. No secret ballot.

Confronting employees so they have to make their unionization decision in front of union organizers could greatly increase the possibility of coercion and pressure upon your employees  in the union organizing process.

Why do the unions want to abandon secret ballots? Because workers have been saying “no” to unions. Since fair elections have not result in what they want, they are now pressuring their friends in Congress to change the rules to stack the deck in favor of unions that workers do not want.

It is reported that unions now want to target small and medium business. After all, that is where the jobs are. The vast majority of these businesses do not have a union. It is believed that if the rules are changed to allow for Card Check, unionization of small and medium sized businesses will increase.

Once these cards are collected, the union can force you into binding arbitration. You will have just 120 days to reach an agreement with the union on a union contract. After that, you will be forced into mediation and soon thereafter binding arbitration.

The arbitrator can impose wages, benefits, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment. In essence, the federally appointed arbitrator (appointed by the same federal government that may agree to the union Card Check priority) will write a two-year contract between you and your employees. It will not matter if those terms then render your business uncompetitive. Your workers will have no right to ratify this first “contract.”

When unions are attempting to organize your workplace and during negotiation of a first contract, crippling penalties can be imposed on your business if you terminate a worker that happens to be pro-union. Any unproductive or disgruntled employee could announce they are pro-union and it will be risky for you to fire them.

Card Check will deny the secret ballot to your employees. Card Check greatly increases the possibility that unions will seek to organize your work force. Card Check increases the odds that a labor contract will be forced upon you and make your business uncompetitive. Card Check can essentially prevent you from firing employees that do not work out.

Even liberal lion, former Democratic U.S. Senator, 1972 presidential nominee and long time union ally George McGovern has denounced the card check bill as ". . . disturbing and undemocratic . . ."

You can join the effort to oppose this crippling legislation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has formed a coalition of businesses and business organizations uniting to defeat Card Check. Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) is a coalition member. I happen to serve on a steering committee for this Workforce Freedom Initiative.

To make your opposition to Card Check known, download a response form by clicking here. It does not matter if you are outside of Oregon. You can use this Oregon form. Please fill out the form and return to me by fax (541-345-2456) or by email (alan@thinkILG.com). I will make sure it gets to the right people.

You learn more about Card Check at the following links.

Card Check: Learn the Basics

Read the full text of the bill (PDF)

Cardcheck: Myths vs. Facts (PDF)

Learn more about Card Check

Card Check Explained (Online Video)

 

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