The Corner

Hoyer on Card Check Cont’d

From a lawyer-reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

Sen. Hoyer is misleading, but factually correct in his statements. Under the present law, to have a secret ballot election, the union need only obtain 30% of the workers’ signatures. I suppose Hoyer is stating that if the Union only achieves 30-49.9% of worker signatures, then the secret ballot would not be precluded. Of course, the Union also knows that obtaining only 40% of worker signatures results in an 8% chance of victory come election time. Therefore, it seems that secret ballots would not be precluded, so long as only 30-49.9% of the workers sign them. However, under the EFCA, which Union would not slash the extra tire to reach the 50% threshold, thereby ensuring worker representation? Essentially card check removes the secret ballot election.

And here’s another:

Hoyer is banking on the public’s lack of understanding of the process.  I am a labor lawyer, and am very familiar with the evolution of this “card check” bill.  The bill is simple.  If a majority of the employees in “an appropriate bargaining unit” (let’s not get hung up on that definition here) sign authorization cards, then there will be no election.  Period, end of story.

Signing a card is not a “vote” in the formal sense. It’s some expression of support, assuming the signer knows what he or she is signing  (which is absolutely not a foregone conclusion).  The party seeking signatures and collecting the cards is the union, which is the only party who knows how many cards it has secured.  The employees signing the cards have no idea what percentage has signed.  There is no mechanism for employees to “demand” a true election.  If the union receives a majority of signatures, and informs the NLRB, that’s it.  No election.  There can’t be an election.

The only “choice” an employee has is to sign or not.  “I’ll sign, but I also want a vote” is simply not an option under this bill unless the union chooses to stop collecting cards short of a majority.  There is no practical reason why a union would do this.  Why risk an election you might lose.  And if the union cannot convince at least a bare majority to sign a card (using all its tools of  “persuasion”), then it is very unlikely to be able to win a real secret ballot election.  Bottom line: they will get a majority and avoid a vote, or they will walk away.

EFCA as it passed the House in 2007 would under no circumstances have both a majority card count and an election.  There would be no mechanism to find out if that is “what the workers want.”

Now, I suspect that EFCA will be held up a little and will be amended to drop card check, replaced with a quickie election.  Other aspects of the bill are also odious… such as the interest arbitration provision (which is not capturing the public eye).

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