Voinovich: Card Check a bad idea

posted at 10:56 am on March 31, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

George Voinovich writes an essay today in Politico explaining why this normally pro-labor Republican will not support Card Check.  The Ohio Senator, who will retire at the end of this term, explains both of the poison-pill parts of the legislation, the elimination of the secret ballot and the government-imposed arbitration.  Both would damage the economy, and as Voinovich explains, neither are really necessary anyway:

Moreover, based on Congressional Research Service statistics I have reviewed, I do not believe that the underlying National Labor Relations Board process for conducting elections is so broken that it should be scrapped, which is what I believe this legislation will do. For instance, in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 fiscal years, unions won roughly 55 percent of the NLRB-conducted representation elections, a significant increase from FY1994 and FY1995, when unions won roughly 44 percent of those elections.

Over this period, the percentage of elections won by union organizers increased. And according to CRS statistics, in fiscal 2008, 95.1 percent of initial representation elections were conducted within 56 days of the filing of a petition seeking such an election, and the median time to proceed to an election was 38 days. These statistics suggest that the NLRB election process is working.

Voinovich tiptoes around the problem with the elimination of the secret ballot:

That is, if one of your co-workers and friends feels strongly about union representation, I would suspect that you might be more likely to agree to sign a petition in favor of this position because you do not wish to offend that person. While there is nothing nefarious about a desire to have good relationships with our co-workers and friends, I believe that a private ballot allows individuals to vote their conscience, without their employers or co-workers knowing how they voted — and without the social pressure that would accompany such a process.

That’s certainly a polite way of putting it.  EFCA eliminates the secret ballot by putting the decision to call for a traditional election in the hands of the union rather than the company, and the union won’t bother with a secret-ballot election if it qualifies by getting a majority of signed cards.  Unions will use “social pressure” to get to 51%, all right — social pressures like intimidation and harassment.  Workers aren’t worried about annoying their friends, they’re afraid of union thugs coming to their door demanding signatures.

The statistics that Voinovich cites shows the need for the secret ballot.  Unions win slightly more than half of all organizing elections now, based on qualifying through card signing.  If the secret ballot wasn’t needed, that should be closer to 100%.  Quite obviously, the card-check process is much more deficient than the secret ballot.

Voinovich rejects the other crown jewel of the unions as well:

For employees and employers entering into a collective bargaining agreement for the first time, such a short deadline might be completely unworkable. If the parties fail to reach agreement in 120 days, an outside, government-appointed arbitrator could force the parties into a binding contract.

By subjecting either party to binding arbitration outside the terms of an existing agreement, I believe that this legislation conflicts directly with fundamental tenets of American contract and labor law. Traditionally, the parties come to a meeting of the minds on the contract’s terms and conditions — after significant give and take. Having a third party with the ability to impose terms and conditions that neither party may want turns this long-standing principle on its head.

This is the real objective for the unions.  They want card check as a lever to get into the workplaces, but the arbitration gets them what they want without striking.  They want a friendly government bureaucracy, filled with fellow union members, setting the terms for the labor-management relationship in the private sector without having to have members walk off the job.  All they have to do is refuse to negotiate in good faith for four months, and they will get whatever they want from the Deus ex Governmenta that will force management to accept their terms under penalty of law.

Voinovich gets this one right.  Card Check is a disaster — and completely unnecessary.

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I can already hear the jackboots marching…

Dark-Star on March 31, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Only the most radical leftists…the ones who can honestly say that in all instances unions do good and have the potential to do more good…would ever support such an idiotic policy. I assume we’ll be seeing more of this as time goes by.

ernesto on March 31, 2009 at 11:08 AM

This is good.

But I would like to hear him say that he will not vote for future bills that have the EFCA chopped up and slipped into them.

myrenovations on March 31, 2009 at 11:08 AM

In the history of our country without unions, there may never have been a middle class on the scale that it is now. The problem is that the honorable reasons the unions were formed has been usurped by the total greed and corruption of their leaders. Now instead of being the representative of those to maintain livable wages, they are a cancer and no more of a viable force for good as the lying thieves that represent us in Congress.

volsense on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Card Check is dead in the water.

But, it’s a bittersweet victory, since the unions appear to control the president. Shocking.

amkun on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I keep coming back to “how can a worker who doesn’t want a union be forced into one just because a majority of his coworkers vote for it?”

Count to 10 on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I was starting to lose faith in Voinovich. Glad he has a spec of sense left in him.

flyawaybird on March 31, 2009 at 11:12 AM

volsense on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Unions today are more in line with the views of the murderer “Big Bill” Haywood instead of Samuel Gompers. Unless they re-learn the lessons of Gompers, they need to die. Violently.

PimFortuynsGhost on March 31, 2009 at 11:13 AM

volsense on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Yup. Unions have long since become what they were formed to prevent.

warbaby on March 31, 2009 at 11:20 AM

I was starting to lose faith in Voinovich. Glad he has a spec of sense left in him.

flyawaybird on March 31, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Yeah, just in time for retirement.

loudmouth883 on March 31, 2009 at 11:21 AM

volsense on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

The reason unions were formed was to limit the workforce to members. Unions are organized against workers, not management. The middle class you claim was formed by unions is smaller than it would have been otherwise without them.

Akzed on March 31, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Card Check is a disaster — and completely unnecessary.

Unless…….

…….. you are a fascist.

Seven Percent Solution on March 31, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Akzed on March 31, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Great link, thanks.

warbaby on March 31, 2009 at 11:33 AM

If they donated like the bailed out institutions, he would say it is a great idea.

getalife on March 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Everybody say your prayers that when Voinovich leaves in 2010, his successor is Rob Portman. A while you’re at it, keep John Kasich in mind for his run to beat incumbent Ted Strickland, who sat picking his nose as ACORN ran wild over parts of Ohio and one of his appointees authorized the invasion of Joe the Plumber’s privacy.

Here’s hoping Ohio turns red again before turning into Michigan.

BuckeyeSam on March 31, 2009 at 11:42 AM

getalife on March 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM

How much of your retirement have you lost because of Obama’s recession?

Johan Klaus on March 31, 2009 at 11:45 AM

but, but, but, I was always told it was Republicans that were taking away our rights…

Card Check
Fairness Doctrine
Confiscatory Taxes
Auto Regulation
CEO choice
Life as a choice

the list goes on…

kirkill on March 31, 2009 at 11:59 AM

If they donated like the bailed out institutions, he would say it is a great idea.

getalife on March 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM

straw man, get a life.

kirkill on March 31, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Man, everybody’s falling for the Fast Track “compromise.” The Congress and out alternative media.

They pushed Card Check so they could “compromise” for Fast Track. That alone increases success of a vote by 40%.

Wake up punditry! :)

True_King on March 31, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Broken clock.

Twice a day.

angryed on March 31, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Well, we’ll see a lot of unnecessary comments on this topic. LOL*

AnninCA on March 31, 2009 at 1:10 PM

If they donated like the bailed out institutions, he would say it is a great idea.

getalife on March 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM

I guess you do know he voted for TARP.. he’s no conservative, and he is normally pro-labor so you might be onto something. But I think he knows he doesn’t need to fight for card check.

Card check was just leverage so that a few politicians could thump their chests and pretend they’re doing something for us and get a “compromise”.. just like True_King says.

popularpeoplesfront on March 31, 2009 at 2:46 PM

When are you all going to call this act by its real name, the UBEA (the Union Bosses Enrichment Act)?????

either orr on March 31, 2009 at 3:01 PM

I guess you do know he voted for TARP.. he’s no conservative, and he is normally pro-labor so you might be onto something. But I think he knows he doesn’t need to fight for card check.

He’s an Ohioan. You don’t get elected here by pissing off your electorate.

sethstorm on March 31, 2009 at 3:01 PM

BuckeyeSam on March 31, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Strickland and Brown are delivering what Ohioans have wanted for years – substance.

Pardon if you’re bitter about Blackwell not making it. Ohio’s not likely to turn red again for a while.

sethstorm on March 31, 2009 at 3:04 PM