Campaign against union “card check” bill making headway – NAFEM members again urged to call, write congress

This bill, better called “card check” legislation, would replace current law that requires a secret ballot before a union is authorized in a workplace. Instead, if 50 percent of a firm’s workers sign a simple card calling for a union, that workplace would instantly be organized. Employers would then only have 60 days to negotiate and agree to a contract – if this did not occur, federal mediators would automatically be called in.

The “card check” legislation easily passed the House of Representatives in the 2008 Congress and failed in the Senate only because it fell short of the 60 votes needed to close debate and move to final up or down decision where only 50 votes would have been needed. With the increased Democrat majority in the Senate this year and pledged support by President Obama, labor supporters had been optimistic about passing the bill.

Recently, however, both Senators Specter and Lincoln have announced that they would not support the bill this year, at least not in its present form.

“The problem of the recession makes this a particularly bad time to enact employee choice legislation,” Senator Specter said. Recognizing that his decision likely put the 60 votes needed to achieve closure out of reach, he suggested that Senators might instead “choose to move on” and instead consider amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Senator Lincoln was less categorical, saying only that “I cannot support that bill in its current form,” leaving open the option that she might support the modified bill.

NAFEM has been urging members to write their senators and members of Congress in opposition to the bill and to attend rallies being organized in key states by the National Association of Manufacturers ((NAM). Members in Pennsylvania and Arkansas should now write Senators Specter and Lincoln to thank them for their recent statements opposing the bill.