EFCA’s Unambiguous Language

A recent Washington Times editorial rightly calls the bluff on organized labor’s dubious claim that millions of American workers would eagerly join unions if not for employers’ ability to “browbeat the workers.”

Union leadership seems to believe that mandating card check and removing the employer’s right to request a secret-ballot election will somehow reflexively grow their numbers now and into the future to the 35 percent national representation they enjoyed in the 1970s. “We believe that it is integral to fixing the economy,” said William Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO in a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times this week. “We hope it will be among the first bills to move through Congress. I have no doubt that it will pass and it will be signed.”

Card check won’t do anything to fix the economy, and the reality is most unions are created through the secret ballot process, not because the employer objected to the card check but because union members prefer the outright legitimacy of the NLRB election.

Which is the major reason why EFCA is bad policy. The Act would in effect deprive workers of access to a secret ballot election once a majority of workers sign enough union cards — often under pressure from union organizers. The Act states:

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a). [Emphasis added.]

That EFCA would undermine secret ballots could not be more clear from the Act’s own language. This bill’s other provisions — imposing both binding arbitration and stiffer penalties on employers for “unfair labor practices — are also troubling, but denying workers the secret ballot so blatantly is bad enough.