USA Today’s editorial board comes out in opposition to Card Check today. The editorial notes the Orwellian construct of a bill named the Employee Free Choice Act that strips workers of the right to a secret ballot in organizing elections. The only way to stop it, according to USA Today, is to keep Barack Obama from becoming President:
This misguided measure passed the House shortly after Democrats took the majority in 2007. But it needs several more votes in the Senate and a president who will sign it. Barack Obama supports it; John McCain does not. It’s no surprise, then, that the AFL-CIO plans to spend an eye-popping $200 million this election cycle to support Obama and Democratic candidates for Congress. A win for Obama and big gains for Senate Democrats could remove the remaining obstacles to the euphemistically named “Employee Free Choice Act.”
Cajoled choice is more like it. The proposed change would give unions and pro-union employees more incentive to use peer pressure, or worse, to persuade reluctant workers to sign their cards. And without elections, workers who weren’t contacted by union organizers would have no say in the final outcome.
Labor leaders, such as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in the space below, argue that the proposed law wouldn’t prohibit private balloting. This is accurate but misleading. Union organizers would have no reason to seek an election if they had union cards signed by more than 50% of workers. And if they had less than a majority, they’d be unlikely to call for a vote they’d probably lose.
The editors point out another strange addition that has gone unnoticed in the EFCA. Right now, when unions and management reach an impasse, the federal government has only limited powers to force a settlement, usually by invoking a cooling-off period to prevent unions from striking or management to conduct a lockout. The EFCA gives the federal government power to impose a contract on both sides in the event of an impasse. Since when did that become a federal power?
The argument of divided government is a powerful one, but one that the John McCain campaign has been reluctant to make explicit. In this case, as with judicial appointments, it may be the best argument McCain has left. Obama would get clear passage for any judicial appointments in a Senate dominated by his own party. Likewise, the EFCA will also sail through Congress and get passed into law in an Obama administration.
Right now, it looks like John McCain is all that separates the workers of American from the risk of losing their secret ballots in union organizing elections. Anyone interested in protecting themselves from union thuggery had better consider that calculation very, very carefully.