I think by now, a lot of Americans have heard about the proposed change by the labor unions and the Democrats to eliminate secret balloting when a company's employees decide to unionize. This change in the collective bargaining laws is called the "Employee Free Choice Act" or EFCA. It is also more commonly known as "Card Check". (See Wikipedia's Coverage of this topic)
No matter what you call it, those who object to it are usually against it because it abandons the democratic process of voting in secret. It is this process of secret balloting that has, for decades now, prevented either management or any union personnel from adversely influencing the outcome of the vote through some form of intimidation.
But from my perspective, EFCA is even more undemocratic than any simple elimination of a secret ballot. That's because EFCA will completely silence management's voice in the process of a company becoming unionized.
In today's process of unionizing, if at least 30 percent of the workers want to unionize, then the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is advised of that fact, and that agency will organize an election that is, by law, to be held within 90 days of that notice. In the process of preparing for that election, both management and the Union are given the opportunity to conduct employee meetings to discuss the pros and cons of unionizing. Following that, an election is held. Also, under the current law, if more than 50% of the employees have "card checked" their desire to unionize, the employer has the right to either have a secret ballot election or, simply, declare the company as being unionized without any election. But, please take note: Management is still involved in the process; even if the majority want to unionize. Furthermore, until the NLRB is involved in the process of establishing an election, it is illegal for company management is dissuade any employees from unionizing.
Because it is illegal for management to "talk down" unionization until just prior to an election, with EFCA, the employees only hear the Union's viewpoint, truthful or not, at the time they are confronted by a Union representative. If they agree with that Union rep, they will check off their intention on a card and sign it. And, as soon as 51 percent of that company's employees sign cards saying that they want to unionize, the company is immediately unionized. Management's voice is completely shut out of the process. There is no further discussion; and, there will be no further management input into the process. Most importantly, there will be no secret ballot election.
To me, the exclusion of management's voice is the real reason behind the "Employee Free Choice Act." That's because, for years, the Unions have consistently failed at the ballot box. Over the last 3 or 4 decades, the union arguments to unionize have been less effective than management's arguments against unionization. For that reason, in vote after vote, management has been successful in defeating the unions.
So, rather than come up with a better argument for unionization, the unions, with the help of their paid-for and elected officials, the Democrats, have decided to silence management through the passage of the "Employee Free Choice Act." That's the true reason behind the EFCA/Card Check; and, that is why the unions believe that EFCA will allow them to grow and grow without being impeded by management.
In arguing against EFCA, I would ask the unions this simple question: What is "so" wrong with the current system? But, it seems like that question isn't being asked. If it was, we might get to the heart of why the current collective bargaining laws needed to be changed; and, the real reason for that change would be exposed to the light of day.
Silencing the opposition is a long held tactic by those who are against democracy. The end game of EFCA is no different than Hugo Chavez's shutting down of opposition radio and television stations and newspapers in Venezuela in order to win elections. It is no different than the Democrats trying to silence conservative talk radio through the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." "Free Choice" and "Fairness" are just attempts by the Democrats to create labels which, in actuality, are the antithesis of what they are really trying to do.
As usual, this is just my "Cutting Through The Fog" opinion. But, I think I'm very right, and not just being on the right, on this one!
Image by ol slambert's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing remix/adapt/modify permission (Click to View Other Works). Specifically modified by Cranky George for this blog entry