The Employee Free Choice Act’s advocates seem to have devised a strategy for misleading the public and press both about what the Act intends to do and what current law provides. Unions go so far as to claim the EFCA won’t abolish secret-ballot elections when the plain wording of the bill concedes that there shall be no election if authorization cards come from more than 50% of the employees in the bargaining unit.
Again on Sunday we saw flimflammery of the highest order. As the Huffington Post reported, Claire McCaskill was on This Week, acknowledging that perhaps the pro-card check forces didn’t have 60 votes to end a filibuster. Then she uncorked a doozy:
I would say that I think it would be fair that we have a secret ballot for the decertification of unions. Right now, businesses can go with the card check. There is no secret ballot to get rid of a union. But there is a requirement of that for people to be able to organize. And to me that seems unfair. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Let’s get people on a level playing field … Until they do that I’m not sure they have a lot of room to complain.
This is simply a lie. The procedure under current law for the decertification of a union is identical to the procedure for a certification. If 30% of more of the bargaining union employees want to decertify a union, they can file a petition and have an election. The NLRB has a handy guide explaining this:
The Act also contains a provision whereby employees or someone acting on their behalf can file a petition seeking an election to determine if the employees wish to retain the individual or labor organization currently acting as their bargaining representative, whether the representative has been certified or voluntarily recognized by the employer. This is called a decertification election.
[. . .]
Regarding the showing of interest, it is the policy to require that a petitioner requesting an election for either certification of representatives or decertification show that at least 30 percent of the employees favor an election. The Act also requires that a petition for a union-security deauthorization election be filed by 30 percent or more of the employees in the unit covered by the agreement for the NLRB to conduct an election for that purpose. The showing of interest must be exclusively by employees who are in the appropriate bargaining unit in which an election is sought.
It is the EFCA which seeks an imbalance of rules: card check for certification and secret ballot for decertification. Perhaps McCaskill is ignorant of the law and is not intentionally trying to mislead the public. But if this is what passes for argument by the EFCA proponents, you have a sense as to how weak their position is. Truth be told, it is hard to defend taking away the secret ballot. Even Obama booster Warren Buffet can’t bring himself to conceal his distaste for nixing the secret ballot.
Nevertheless, McCaskill’s argument that we should have a level playing field in the workplace is a compelling one. And it is one more reason for senators to vote against the EFCA.