Employee Free Choice Act | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Media Matters here examines (link corrected) the one-sided presentation by Fox News of the pending legislation to allow card sign-offs on union representation. Truth is, the reporting is just about as one-sided everywhere. You have to search hard for the fact that employers could allow card-check votes now, but don't because they prefer the delays and resistance that precede long-delayed votes, a time period often marked by firing of union sympathizers.

Middle-of-the-road senators like Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor will be on the spot when this comes to a vote. The harangues from the conservative editorial writers and business leaders in union-puny, right-to-work Arkansas already would have you believe the very future of America may ride on a vote that will have little impact in Arkansas. Even some normally moderate commentators have bought the management hogwash.

Absent from numerous discussions and reports of EFCA on Fox News is any mention of the argument made by proponents of EFCA. They say that the legislation is necessary because under current law, in which an election process is triggered when 30 percent of workers sign a card stating that they want to organize, employers have responded to unionization efforts during the period before the vote is held by intimidating workers, firing workers, and threatening to shut down factories and businesses.

As The New York Times reported, "Union officials say they do not dislike the secret ballot, but rather the lengthy, expensive, adversarial campaign before the vote in which companies often fire union supporters and use videos, large meetings and one-on-one sessions to pressure employees to vote against unionizing." A September 2000 study by Kate Bronfenbrenner, the director of labor education research at Cornell University, examined more than 400 NLRB certification election campaigns in manufacturing plants between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 1999, and found that 25 percent of employers fired at least one worker for union activity and that 51 percent of employers told employees that their plant might close if workers unionized. In a December 2005 study of organizing campaigns in Chicago, Chirag Mehta and Nik Theodore of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago wrote: "Aided by a weak labor law system that fails to protect workers' rights under the law, employers manipulate the current process of establishing union representation in a manner that undemocratically gives them the power to significantly influence the outcome of union representation elections. ... The findings of this report suggest that unions were unable to maintain worker support throughout the course of representation campaigns because employer interference eroded that support."

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