EFCA/CardCheck Polls, Articles, Hyperlinks

Please note a few points on the Gallup Poll released today:


Gallup did not poll specific elements of the bill and posed a generic question on unionization. They will explore in future polling public reaction to specific aspects of the bill.


According to Gallup, “[at] the same time, Americans have barely begun to pay attention to the issue. The 12% who are following it ‘very closely’ is exceptionally low relative to public attention to other news.” (Lydia Saad, “Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier,” Gallup, 3/17/09)


An important takeaway is that “those most closely following news about the union-organizing bill are the most opposed to the general concept of a law making it easier for unions to organize: just 40% are in favor; 58% are opposed.” (Lydia Saad, “Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier,” Gallup, 3/17/09)


Lastly, “Gallup’s August 2008 Workplace survey found only 35% in favor of unions having greater influence. In this context, with the arguments against card check yet to be fully aired and debated, it could be a troubling sign for unions that no more than 53% of Americans immediately support this fundamental aspect of the card-check bill.” (Lydia Saad, “Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier,” Gallup, 3/17/09)




And In Other Polling Results:


“Contrary to union leaders’ expectations, the vast majority of workers have no interest in joining a union. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds 81 percent of non-union workers do not want union representation. That compares to just 9 percent of workers who say they do want to join a union. Even among workers whose employers are laying off employees, interest in joining a union is low: Only 9 percent want to be members of a union. The results were based on surveys of 1,000 adults conducted March 13-14.” (David Patten, “Poll: 81 Percent of Workers Against Unions,” Newsmax, 3/16/09)




Hoffa: “‘Since When Is The Secret Ballot A Basic Tenet Of Democracy?’ ... Hoffa Was Elected President Of The Teamsters Union By Secret Ballot”:


“Here we go. The forces opposing the Employee Free Choice Act are gearing up a campaign to use ‘labor boss’ James Hoffa as a cudgel against the measure – an effort to target the ‘secret ballot’ provision of the measure and apparently to discredit labor in the process ... The ad shows an angry-looking Hoffa asking on March 10: ‘Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?’ It then claims: ‘Jimmy Hoffa was elected president of the Teamsters Union by secret ballot in 1998,’ and goes on to bash ‘labor bosses like Mr. Hoffa’ for ‘trying to rewrite history to pass their anti-worker card check agenda.’” (Greg Sargent, “Business Groups Gear Up Campaign To Use ‘Labor Boss’ James Hoffa To Slam EFCA,” The Washington Post, 3/16/09)




Gov. Huntsman: Secret Ballot “Is Fundamental To Our Economic Development Efforts As A State And Safeguards Our Long Tradition Of Being A ‘Right To Work’ State”:


“While the fight over pro-union card check legislation rages on in Congress, a second front has opened up in the battle: the states. Critics of card check are trying to get states to amend their constitutions to require secret ballots in union organizing. They’ve already managed to get one state, Utah, to put the proposed changes on the ballot in the 2010 election ... Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, has endorsed the anti-card check drive in his state. ‘This issue is fundamental to our economic development efforts as a state and safeguards our long tradition of being a “right to work” state,’ Huntsman said. Similar efforts are being pushed in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. Most are still at the preliminary stages ... Card check is a top priority of Big Labor, which sees it as crucial to reversing a decline in membership. Only 12.4% of the total work force is unionized, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is even smaller for the private sector, just 7.6%. Under labor law, union organizers must get signatures from 30% of a company’s workers. The National Labor Relations Board then oversees a secret ballot election. If more than 50% of the vote is for a union, it is recognized. Card check would change this by eliminating the NLRB election. Instead, unions would only need to get the signatures of more than half of the employees. Critics argue that by eliminating the secret ballot, the law would make it easy for unions to coerce or trick people into signing up ... The bill also would impose mandatory arbitration on labor contracts if business and labor can’t come to an agreement after a union has been recognized. A federal arbitrator would then dictate contract terms.” (Sean Higgins, “State Conservatives Lead The Charge In Effort To Protect Secret Union Ballots,” Investors Business Daily, 3/17/09)






AR Ad: “Your Senators Can Protect The Ballot And 600,000 Jobs”:


“The Pro-biz Americans for Job Security are putting the pressure on moderate Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who hasn’t made up her mind on the labor-backed Employee Free Choice Act-- taking out a full page ad in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. What’s interesting about the ad is that it targets Lincoln on her ‘cloture’ vote, given that the measure has enough votes for passage but has thus far fallen a little short of the 60 needed to close debate. ‘Your Senators can protect the ballot and 600,000 jobs. Call Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and tell them opposing cloture is the only way to save the secret ballot,’ the ad reads, along with an anti-EFCA testimonial from Warren Buffett.” (Glenn Thrush, “Pro-Biz Group Targets Lincoln, Pryor,” Politico, 3/16/09)


EFCA Would “Transfer Power” ... “And It’s A Political Payoff, Of Course. The Current System Is More Balanced And Objective”:


“I’m getting mail saying that, contrary to what I’ve written, ‘card check’ would not do away with secret-ballot elections on certifying labor union affiliations. So here are the facts. Secret-ballot elections are almost always conducted now because management, whenever confronted by a union movement, invariably wants elections and is permitted by law to choose them. This ‘card check’ bill would let unions organize without elections, merely by signing cards. It would remove management’s authority to invoke elections. But the ‘card check’ bill would not specifically amend a provision in existing law saying 30 percent of a workforce could insist on elections. A recent article in Slate, the online magazine, shot pretty straight on this. It concluded that ‘card check’ would not remove – ‘in theory’ – the right to a secret-ballot election. It said, however, that the bill would remove that right ‘in practice’ ... Anyway, the Slate article wonders why workers who had just signed cards to unionize themselves would then sign cards insisting on a secret-ballot election on what they’d just won. Rather plainly, the new system would transfer power. It represents labor’s attempt to unionize pre-emptively and preclude management’s option to declare and wage the war of attrition. And it’s a political payoff, of course. The current system is more balanced and objective.” (Josh Brummett, “Card check And Secret Ballots,” Arkansas News, 3/17/09)






Rep. Rooney: EFCA “Will Only Do More Damage To Our Economy,” “Stall Economic Growth And Cost Americans Jobs”:


“Americans are struggling and looking to Washington for help during this period of economic uncertainty. Congress must focus its attention on getting our economy back on track and getting Americans back to work. Unfortunately, last week the majority introduced a bill misleadingly named the ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ which will only do more damage to our economy. This legislation is more appropriately known as the ‘card check’ bill. It will eliminate secret ballot elections when workers vote whether or not to unionize. The card check process requires only a simple majority of workers’ signatures on cards, denying them any privacy in order to unionize a workplace. This system opens workers to intimidation and reprisal from labor bosses or employers ... The impact of this bill would be devastating to small businesses and economic recovery. It would not create any new jobs or help turn the economy around. A recent study by renowned economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar, who works for a non-partisan consulting firm, estimated that more than 600,000 jobs could be lost as a result of this legislation. Now is not the time to be considering measures that could result in more Americans losing their jobs. Instead, we need to be working together to create more jobs. Even Warren Buffet, one of President Obama’s own economic advisors and successful investor, is opposed to the card check legislation. Just last week on CNBC he stated his opposition to this bill and voiced his support for secret ballots. And polls overwhelmingly show that the vast majority of Americans are opposed to this senseless legislation ... Americans are clearly struggling and all members of Congress need to work together to find solutions that will put people back to work. Sadly, some in the majority want to push through this dangerous policy in the midst of this crisis, which will stall economic growth and cost Americans jobs. I will continue to fight against this card check legislation and protect the democratic principle of workplace privacy.” (Rep. Tom Rooney, “We Must Protect Secret Ballots,” TC Palm, 3/16/09)






Local Business Owner: EFCA “Will Make It More Difficult For Companies To Be Globally Competitive”:


“The Employee Free Choice Act, known as card check, would make it easier for workers to form unions by eliminating a need for a secret ballot. As proposed, the law would make employers recognize a union if a simple majority of workers sign authorizations (cards). Robert Gorman, an attorney with Critchfield Critchfield & Johnston who practices in the area of labor and employment law, said by not using a secret ballot, an employer could come to work one day and discover the company’s structure has changed ... But, the card check legislation may be the most sweeping change to labor-management relations, said Jeff Griffin, executive director of the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce. The federal government has fought to protect the secret ballot abroad, and Griffin said it should do the same in this country. Without a secret ballot, an employee runs the risk of having a union without ever having voted for one, Gorman said. One of Griffin’s top concerns is a provision that would allow for a federal arbitration panel to make final decisions if the employer and union cannot reach an agreement. The timeline of the proposed law states if the company and union do not reach an agreement after 90 days, then either side may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help them reach an agreement. If they fail to reach an agreement after 30 days, then the matter would be referred to the arbitration panel ... Seaman [president and chief executive officer of the Seaman Corp.] said a third party that knows nothing about his company should not decide what is right for the business. If card check passes, Seaman said it will make it more difficult for companies to be globally competitive.” (Bobby Warren, “Card Check Could Bring Sweeping Change,” The Daily Record, 3/17/09)






EFCA Becomes Issue In Gubernatorial Contest:


“The Employee Free Choice Act is causing Democrats grief in the Virginia gubernatorial race. It is no wonder that the Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is starting to make hay over card check. One reason: the ‘Northern Virginia technology community is in an uproar about it.’ The Washington Post reports: ‘The legislation would undermine efforts to attract businesses to Virginia, which is a right-to-work state,’ Northern Virgina Technology Council’s] executive director, Bobbie Kilberg, said. ‘If card check passes, it will embolden unions to try to overturn right-to-work laws,’ she said.” (Jennifer Rubin, “Card Check Tangles Up Virginia Democrats,” Commentary Magazine, 3/16/09)






Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: “It Is Difficult To Imagine American Businesses, Subject To Binding Arbitration Contracts, Remaining Competitive”:


“While it was introduced in both the House and Senate less than one week ago, battle lines already are drawn over The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make it easier for employees to organize unions in the workplace ... The bill would dramatically reform labor laws by allowing workers to form unions by simply signing a card or petition, removing an employer’s right to demand a secret ballot vote of employees ... ‘I’m in favor of protecting workers’ rights to a secret ballot,’ said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville). ‘The so-called Employee Free Choice Act would deny them that right.’ Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) he is ‘strongly opposed’ to the bill. ‘This destroys the balance between labor and management,’ Sensenbrenner said. ‘The secret ballot is a way of ensuring there is no intimidation between the union and management.’ ... Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), the largest business advocacy group in the state, is opposed to the change. ‘The ironically named “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA) would deny American workers the opportunity to cast a ballot in an election to determine whether they want organized union representation in their workplace,’ said James Haney, president of the WMC. ‘This federal legislation would mandate a check card system for union recognition in the United States. American workers should have the same rights as their fellow citizens to cast a private ballot in the workplace on union representation.’ The EFCA’s proposal for binding arbitration could result in workplace negotiations being decided by federal arbitrators, Haney said. ‘This approach to contract deliberations often discourages negotiations and usually ends up placing important matters of government fiscal policy in the hands of third party arbitrators,’ Haney said. ‘It is difficult to imagine American businesses, subject to binding arbitration contracts, remaining competitive in the global marketplace.’” (“Debate Begins Over Union Card Check Law,” Manufacturing Weekly, 3/16/09)