Sunday, February 22, 2009

Card Check Legislation = Bad Legislation

Many of you have heard about the “Employee Free Choice Act” – otherwise known as card check legislation. I strongly oppose this legislation as it removes an employee’s right to secret ballot; and should employees decide to unionize, a business would have 120 days to agree to a contract. If an agreement cannot be reached, the government will intervene and decide what wages and benefits an employer must pay its employees.

I sent emails to and made phone calls to the following legislators to voice my opposition to this legislation – US Representatives Brad Miller and David Price and US Senators Richard Burr and Kay – I don’t know how to check voicemail - Hagan. I heard back from two; Senator Burr and Congressman Miller. David Price and Kay Hagan have yet to respond. I am unable to leave a message on Kay Hagan's phone as her mailbox if full. I have tried numerous times. Senator Burr thankfully opposes card check legislation. Representative Miller supports it. Here is an email I received from Congressman Miller:

Mr. Don Frantz
706 East Cornwall Road
Cary, NC 27511-4613

Dear Mr. Frantz:

Thank you for contacting me about the Employee Free Choice Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

While workers should not be compelled to join a union against their will, I believe that every worker must have the right to organize. Unfortunately, many workers are not guaranteed that right. Some 42 million American workers report that they would join a union if they could. However, many employers respond to organization attempts with intimidation, harassment, and retaliation.

The Employee Free Choice Act would enable workers to join unions free from employer coercion and interference. It would allow union organizers to bypass secret-ballot elections if they gather a majority of eligible employees' signatures in support of union formation. Employers would be required to accept this card-check recognition. Additionally, the bill would provide for mediation and arbitration in first contract situations and increase penalties on employers that violate workers' rights to organize. I support this legislation because it would ensure that, when a majority of employees in a workplace decide to form a union, they can do so without the obstacles employers use to block such organization.

The Employee Free Choice Act passed the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress on March 1, 2007, by a vote of 241-185. It was debated in the Senate most recently on June 26, 2007, however the Senate did not have enough votes to end debate and take a vote.

I appreciate your concerns that this bill would remove the secret ballot vote of the current process. However, because the current national law regarding union formation is violated frequently and with inadequate sanctions, I support card-check recognition. Under this bill, employers will retain the ability to ask for an election to de-certify the union if applicable. I know that your views are strongly held and I regret that we disagree on a matter that is so important to you. I welcome your views even if we do not always agree. Please contact me about other issues important to you. Thank you.


Brad Miller

Member of Congress

First allow me to say I appreciate Representative Miller's response. I appreciate it when an elected official takes the time to respond to a constituent - regardless of whether we agree or not. Unfortunately we disagree big time on card check legislation.

So how does card check work exactly you ask? Here’s an example: Let’s say Cary wants to know whether its citizens want an aquatic center (sounds familiar huh?) Anyways, Cary holds an election to see if voters approve. 1000 vote “NO”, and 600 vote “YES”. Election’s over right? Wrong. With card check there is no time limit – no election day. Pool supporters spend the next 3 months canvassing neighborhoods and lobbying their friends gathering more votes in favor until they have the 1001 “YES” votes needed to get their pool. They know how many votes they need, and they have as much time as they need to get them. Card check works the same way. The unions keep lobbying employees and collecting signed cards until they have the amount required to unionize.

Why on earth would we want to eliminate a worker’s right to secret ballot anyways? Why would we want to open up employees to union intimidation? The unions will know who has signed a card and who hasn’t – with secret ballot neither the employer nor the union know who voted yes or no. Why? Because the unions pumped millions of dollars into political campaigns this past fall - that's why.

And who on earth came up with "The Employee Free Choice Act" as the title for this legislation anyways? They oughta be in marketing instead of Washington. It's almost as bad as "The Fairness Doctrine". If I ever make it to Washington my first bill will be called "The Sunshine, Puppies, and Save the Children Act". Who wouldn't vote for that???

Bottom line – if employees are forced to work in poor conditions for peanuts they will vote to unionize. If employees are treated well they will not.

Richard Burr understands this, Brad miller doesn’t. And Kay Hagan needs to figure out how to check her voicemail so folks quit getting the “my mailbox is full” message. Geez….