This first appeared in the spring issue of The Standard, the newsletter of the Ohio Pest Management Association.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) presently establishes two primary ways that employees are able to form or join a union: (1) a private ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after at least 30 percent of workers have signed authorization cards, or (2) the collection of signed authorization or “card checks” from a majority of employees in a bargaining unit.
The so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) fundamentally alters the NLRA by allowing unions to use the “card check” process or signature campaign each time they try to organize employees. The NLRB would be required to automatically certify any union that secures a simple majority of signatures through this petition like process. Such a process effectively allows the establishment of unions everywhere without a valid vote.
Under the “card check” method, union organizers present employee signatures on authorization cards as representing the true intent of the workers. However, even a Federal Appeals Court has noted that, “Workers sometimes sign union authorization cards not because they intend to vote for the union in the election, but to avoid offending the person who asks them to sign, often a fellow worker, or simply to get the person off their back.”
The only way to guarantee worker protection is through the continued use of a federally supervised private ballot so that personal decisions about whether to join a union remain private. Swapping federally supervised private ballot elections for a “card check” process tramples the privacy of individual workers who should not have to reveal to anyone how they exercise their right to choose whether to organize with their coworkers in a union. No one, employers and union organizers alike, should fear an election conducted by private ballot. It is the only manner in which to protect an individual’s freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion or intimidation.
EFCA also includes language forcing binding arbitration on both the employer and collective bargaining unit. Specifically, the measure ends bargaining negotiations after only 120 days—90 days of negotiations and 30 days of mediation—and forces a two-year contract on both the employer and employees, thus providing motivation for either a union or employer to engage in bad faith bargaining until the end of the negotiating period. Consequently, a government arbitrator could impose unwanted employment conditions on both employees and management.
The National Pest Management Association urges members of Congress to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409 & S. 560).