Friday, June 19, 2009

"Card Check" Won't Open Floodgates To Unionizing

One fact that is conveniently ignored by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act is that card check won't necessarily open the floodgates to rampant unionizing of nonunion businesses. Two years ago in the state of Oregon, the legislation passed legislation that was signed by the governor that changed Oregon labor law, allowing card check. In just two years, only 110 employees of various businesses for workplaces used such a union representation method to allow just six workplaces to become unionized. Out of the thousands of workplaces in the state, that is a pretty small increase in the number of businesses that became unionized.

In most cases it appears that most of the increases in union workplaces were among workplaces such as small fire departments or groups of educational workers such as at community colleges, etc. In one case, a group of electrical workers requested a vote, and by a single vote rejected becoming unionized.

The fact of the matter is that big lobby efforts continue to fight against the Employee Free Choice act at the federal level, inspired by fear stories among the business community and among Republican members of Congress of fears of rampant unionizing will take place if the legislation passes. But like much fear driven politics. the reality of the experience in Oregon proves that by allowing an easier path to unionization will hardly bring new costs to most businesses during this recession. Further, many agencies closely associated with government such as the Oregon Lottery Commission and the Oregon Judicial Department still remain as functioning as nonunion agencies.

The fact of the matter is that employers still hold too many legal ways to circumvent unionizing such as requiring employees to attend mandatory anti-union propaganda meetings and film presentations, often hosted by professional anti-union organizations. Even if a lot of the information presented is outwardly false and misleading, still this method has only worked to undermine unionizing efforts in many workplaces.

Another problem is that most Republicans seem to be standing in the way of the vote in the Senate to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, leaving it critical that Al Franken is seated in order to allow a vote to proceed. But unfortunately for many workers, this won't yet open up the better benefits of becoming a union member for many workers as the slow progress to unionize in Oregon since card check became law proved.


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