Card Check checkmated in midterms?

posted at 11:30 am on November 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Conservatives have warned that Democrats may use the lame-duck session that starts later this month to push through some remaining portions of the hard-left agenda that cost them their majority in the House, including the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act, better known as Card Check.  The bill would eliminate the secret ballot in union organizing elections as well as forcing employers into arbitration after 90 days of negotiations in contract talks, and Democrats have pushed for years to get this sop to their union backers across the finish line.  They certainly won’t get an opportunity in the next session of Congress to pass it again, and perhaps ever.

But some of those members, especially in the Senate, have to try to win re-election in 2012, and if they paid attention to the voters, they’ll think twice about even attempting to sneak it through this year.  As the Wall Street Journal’s editors warn, four states specifically rejected the EFCA approach a week ago, and those votes weren’t even close:

As the lame duck session of the Pelosi Congress nears, one fear is that Democrats will try to force through some last-minute liberal legislation, in particular “card check” to kill the secret ballot in union elections. Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin has promised to seek such a vote, so in the interests of self-preservation the 23 Democrats up for re-election in 2012 might want to look at what happened to the proposal last Tuesday.

Four states—Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah—voted on “save our secret ballot” measures that would require secret elections and effectively outlaw card check as a means to certify a union. In Arizona and Utah the measures passed with 60% of the vote. In South Dakota the margin of victory was 79% and in South Carolina it was 86%.

Yes, these are right-leaning states, but these aren’t merely symbolic victories. Unions have pressed to get card check laws passed in nearly half the states as a way to stop declining union membership, which is now down to 7% or so of all private workers. The state laws are also important because President Obama’s appointees may try to bypass Congress and enact card check through rule-making by the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Obama’s recess appointment of Craig Becker earlier this year gave pro-card check forces a majority on the NLRB.

It’s true that the four states are conservative in nature, but it’s not as if South Carolina’s electorate is 86% Republican, either.  This is the same state that sends Jim Clyburn to Congress every two years, after all.  Arizona’s House Democrats mostly survived this midterm election, much to the disappointment of immigration-enforcement activists.  If Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords can retain their seats while a Card Check initiative loses by 60%, it demonstrates the deep and bipartisan resistance to eliminating the one check on intimidation tactics on either side of labor negotiations.

There was really no great danger of an off-the-rails lame-duck session; Republicans have enough votes to block any shenanigans in the Senate.  Democrats will be too busy working on passing a massive budget in the next few weeks in order to keep it from falling to the GOP to pass their own ideas about spending and priorities for FY2011 in January, and also resolving the tax-hike issue for some damage control after the election.  However, the WSJ points out the real problem that House Republicans will have to address, which is the potential for the NLRB to run amuck.  The effort to rein in regulatory innovation has mainly focused on the EPA and its endangerment finding on CO2, but controlling the NLRB will be almost as important.

In other words, Card Check has been checked.  It hasn’t been checkmated.  Republicans will have to remain vigilant on this issue.


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Stay vigilant.

OmahaConservative on November 9, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Have we ever had so many states try to preempt federal legislation coming down the pike in the past?

I mean, it seems like every other week I’m reading or hearing about a state passing legislation or referendums to circumvent federal overreaching.

Am I just being more cognizant of it or has it exploded since Obama’s regulatory penchant came to the forefront?

ButterflyDragon on November 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Republicans and Conservatives must understand that the bureaucratic game is rigged against them at all levels. So “controlling” or “tying the hands” of regulatory agencies will only send the progressives laughing at our backs while screeching to our faces.

NO! The way to liberty is to SMASH THE BUREACRACIES, so that the next Donk or Rep admin hell bent on spending and control will have to do a lot more to get anything done. You cannot “control” bureacracies by winning elections and changing their personnel. They are self-perpetuating.

The way forward for Republicans (from 2012, cos no Senate/presidency right now) should be to ABOLISH the FCC, FTC, NLRB, Dept of Education, Energy, Commerce, etc etc. JUST SMASH IT. Period.

flawedskull on November 9, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Isn’t the NLRB trying an end around for Card Check?

mchristian on November 9, 2010 at 11:43 AM

RE: Arizona – 2 of 5 Dem incumbents lost, so while technically they “mostly” survived … not really. It sucks that we missed a shot at Giffords (thanks, Libertarians!) but Grajilva was always a long shot. As good a candidate as McClung was, if Grajilva hadn’t called for the boycott it wouldn’t have even been close.

BuzzCrutcher on November 9, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Re NLRB running amuck: What Democrats in Congress Couldn’t Do For Union Bosses, the NLRB Will

We need a complete rethink of the Wagner Act. We need 50-state Right to Work. We need to make it just as easy for a group of workers to vote themselves out of a greedy union as it is to get into a greedy union.

slickwillie2001 on November 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Have we ever had so many states try to preempt federal legislation coming down the pike in the past?

I mean, it seems like every other week I’m reading or hearing about a state passing legislation or referendums to circumvent federal overreaching.

Am I just being more cognizant of it or has it exploded since Obama’s regulatory penchant came to the forefront?

ButterflyDragon on November 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Not in Illinois.
Dick Durbin now wants to ‘study’ the effects of …diesel pollution at commuter railway stations. I know-as usual he has his priorities straight-NOT!
Btw:Railroads-both commuter and freight-are HUGE business in the Chicago area and more regulation would hurt the industry.
My husband is a railroader so Durbin’s meddling will hit close to home.
If you want small government move elsewhere…because you won’t get it in Illinois.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

In other words, Card Check has been checked.

Yet another great reason for democrats to double down on stupid and keep Pelosi in charge.

Baxter Greene on November 9, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Have we ever had so many states try to preempt federal legislation coming down the pike in the past?

I mean, it seems like every other week I’m reading or hearing about a state passing legislation or referendums to circumvent federal overreaching.

Am I just being more cognizant of it or has it exploded since Obama’s regulatory penchant came to the forefront?

ButterflyDragon on November 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM

When has the federal government ever tried to take so much control away from the states?

John Deaux on November 9, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Employee Free Choice Act? Nothing free about it. Nothing.

More like “Let’s let the Unions RunRuin the American Economy Act.”

It was and is nothing more than an attempt by the Left to have the federal government grant to the unions what they cannot obtain on their own merit, and providing a substantial financial return for the unions for all their generous contributions from their membership over the decades furthering Leftist causes.

The next Congress has a duty to kill this garbage once and for all.

The only Union Label I recognize is this.

coldwarrior on November 9, 2010 at 11:54 AM

There was really no great danger of an off-the-rails lame-duck session; Republicans have enough votes to block any shenanigans in the Senate.

Sure, just like with Obamacare.

Missy on November 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I can see 2012 from my window … Democrats always think people will forget, there parrot media in it’s near death current state is in no condition to make it so.

tarpon on November 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM

The thing I’m most worried about in the special session is DREAM (partial amnesty). Reid promised to bring this up.

Jon0815 on November 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM

There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

For example, Brad Sherman’s H.R. 6384 would repeal right-to-work laws in all states.

Therefore, the removal of this one section would make all 50 states forced-dues states, giving unions the ability to have workers fired for not paying union dues or fees.

Rae on November 9, 2010 at 12:06 PM

I don’t get it, Utah is a right to work state, and it only passed by 60%? What is going on? It should be 90%!

Bambi on November 9, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Hmm. If the Feds attempt to allow card check by trumping state law, isn’t there a portion of the Constitution which allows a State to create laws for its people which have more rights than the applicable federal law. The unions might argue that an open ballot provides more rights than a secret one, but they’ll have to choose an agreeable one. Given that any states have acted, this thing is dead.

unclesmrgol on November 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Public Union Leadership, is turning Socialist

Kini on November 9, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Isn’t the NLRB trying an end around for Card Check?

mchristian on November 9, 2010 at 11:43 AM

The NLRB is another agency looking for a reason to exist. Among many others it should be eliminated.

Dasher on November 9, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Public Union Leadership, is turning Socialist

Kini on November 9, 2010 at 12:18 PM

FIFY

Dasher on November 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Public Union Leadership, is turning Socialist

Kini on November 9, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Just had to fix it.

coldwarrior on November 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM

The effort to rein in regulatory innovation has mainly focused on the EPA and its endangerment finding on CO2, but controlling the NLRB will be almost as important.

Trying to rein in the EPA about the “endangerment finding on CO2″ is extremely important, because that one decision by one woman (Lisa Jackson) has virtually crippled the electric power industry, and brought new construction of power plants to a standstill, because no one knows how to comply with it, not even the EPA. Since this is an executive “rule”, not approved by Congress, which could be overturned by a Republican President in 2013, power companies are unwilling to spend tens of millions of dollars on projects which might be useless three years from now.

But can a Republican House majority in 2011 actually force Lisa Jackson to rescind the rule? Beyond issuing a subpoena for her to explain her actions to a House committee, to which few voters will listen, what can the House do?

Steve Z on November 9, 2010 at 1:23 PM

It’s a common mistake to think it is ‘run amuck,’ but actually it is ‘run amok.’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_amok

perries on November 9, 2010 at 2:17 PM

House Bill 1 in the new Congress should propose the decertification of all Federal public sector unions. Afterwards, salaries should be tied to those of equivalent positions in the private sector. This measure alone would reduce the deficit by an appreciable amount in a few years as the defined benefit retirement plans are phased out.

The example for this has been set in Indiana where a similar measure has balanced the state budget.

Annar on November 9, 2010 at 2:38 PM

1. “They certainly won’t get an opportunity in the next session of Congress to pass it [Card Check] again, and perhaps ever.”

I thought I heard something like that in 1994 about national healthcare reform.

2. “Unions have pressed to get card check laws passed in nearly half the states as a way to stop declining union membership, which is now down to 7% or so of all private workers.”

Just 7%? That’s amazing. So, it looks like 93% of union members are government workers.

Note that does NOT mean that 93% of government workers are union members.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

Some highlights from the 2009 data are:

–More public sector employees (7.9 million) belonged to a
union than did private sector employees (7.4 million),
despite there being 5 times more wage and salary workers
in the private sector.

–Workers in education, training, and library occupations
had the highest unionization rate at 38.1 percent.

–Black workers were more likely to be union members than
were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.

–Among states, New York had the highest union membership
rate (25.2 percent) and North Carolina had the lowest
rate (3.1 percent).

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2009, 7.9 million public sector employees belonged to a union,
compared with 7.4 million union workers in the private sector. The
union membership rate for public sector workers (37.4 percent) was
substantially higher than the rate for private industry workers (7.2
percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the
highest union membership rate, 43.3 percent. This group includes work-
ers in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police offi-
cers, and fire fighters. Private sector industries with high unioni-
zation rates included transportation and utilities (22.2 percent),
telecommunications (16.0 percent), and construction (14.5 percent).
In 2009, low unionization rates occurred in agriculture and related
industries (1.1 percent) and financial activities (1.8 percent).
(See table 3.).

Ira on November 9, 2010 at 3:50 PM

As a former construction Superintendent, would y’all like to know what the difference in performance is between those that can’t be fired and those that can is?

I think we all know the answer to that question, do we not?

AllosaursRus on November 9, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I’d just like to add, with collective bargaining, productivity goes into the toilet!!!

I’ve have seen this first hand for better than 30 years. If ya wonder why our trade deficit keeps putting Americans out of work, you only have to look at the cost of our products!

Not only union, but what we believe we are worth in order to tighten the lug nuts on the left side of a government motors car and similar occupations, union or not!

AllosaursRus on November 9, 2010 at 4:11 PM

While I’m at it, I live in a “Right to Work” state. Yet any fed or state job, still pays “Davis Bacon” wages! For those of you who haven’t heard that term, it means, “Union Scale”!!!

This has at least a 2 fold disaster in our local economies. It keeps those contractors that pay their employees what they are actually “worth”, from bidding without inflating the local labor market, or if they do, get an influx of union workers who perform under the standards they are accustomed to in order to make profit!

It defeats the whole purpose of “Right to Work”!

AllosaursRus on November 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM