THE PORTENTOUS RETURN OF CARD CHECKS

From Stephen Cabot’s desk in Philadelphia: In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has opened its back door ever wider for unions to enact a de facto Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card checks. The NLRB decided that an important auto supply company, Dana, in Michigan, can permit the further establishment of unionization amongst its employees through card checks. The UAW already represents workers at a number of Dana facilities. And the union wanted to organize the remaining workers. In an effort to win union concessions without resorting to collective bargaining, Dana agreed to permit the UAW to use card checks to organize those workers who were not represented by a union. No longer will there be secret ballot elections at Dana. Instead, union organizers can now pressure or even intimidate workers into signing card cards. Dana agreed to the use of card checks and the abolition of secret ballot elections in exchange for the UAW agreeing to maintain the company’s plans to reduce employee benefits and permit mandatory overtime. The UAW further agreed not to call for a strike. And the NLRB gave this unusual deal its stamp of approval! It may seem like a good deal for Dana, but if labor disputes arise in the future, the UAW can resort to a full assortment of union tactics to win concessions, and it will have the added leverage of representing all of Dana’s workers. In the meantime, the UAW will significantly increase revenues from the union dues of many new members. Both the NLRB and the UAW have found a clever way to impose card checks on Corporate America and enlist millions of workers into the ranks of unions. It is a bad portent for Corporate America, the American economy, and every American industrial city from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, from Houston to Chicago, from Atlanta to Seattle.

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CRAIG BECKER TO DO AN END RUN FOR CARD CHECKS

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: President Obama’s recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) drew immense amounts of criticism from corporate America, for Becker had been an attorney for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and his objectivity and sense of fairness were called into question. Now Mr. Becker is living up to corporate America’s suspicions. He wants to overturn the 2007 Dana decision. What is the Dana decision? When the NLRB comprised less ideological members than it does now, it had decided that card check was not only inferior to secret ballot elections; it also stated that when a company recognizes union representation of its workers via card check, the workers have a subsequent right to a secret ballot election to determine if they freely chose union representation or if they were coerced into their choice. True to form, Mr. Becker not only suggested that the NLRB can impose card checks on corporate America without the approval of congress, but he and his fellow board members, in a 3-2 decision, have agreed to revisit the Dana decision. The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) reports that “[Mr. Becker] filed a brief for the AFL-CIO in the original Dana case, arguing that there is no essential difference between card check and secret ballots and calling Dana-style protections ‘bad labor-relations policy.’ Mr. Becker is clearly biased against Dana…and should not rule on it.” We absolutely agree and urge the forthcoming Republican congress to make Dana the law of the land. It’s good for workers, for corporate America, and for the U. S. economy.

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