Jul 17, 2009

Senate Dumps Card Check Provision

According to news reports this morning, the Senate somehow found time -- while questioning Judge Sonia Sotomayor, working on health care legislation, and considering a controversial hate crimes provision to the Defense Authorization bill -- to drop the card check provision of the Employee Free Choice Act. The provision would have required the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if the majority of employees in an appropriate unit have signed authorization cards. (Current law allows employers in this situation to either recognize the union or require an election.)

Employer advocates had claimed that card check would violate employee rights to a secret election, giving union leaders an opportunity to bully workers into providing union support. Union leaders counter that the election process gives employers too many opportunities to coerce workers into voting against the union, in part because employers have unfettered access to employees and can lobby them continuously in the days leading up to an election. 

Moderate Democrats apparently convinced the leadership to drop the card check provision. To assuage the concerns of union leaders, Senators are considering alternative provisions, including one that would shorten the time between when the signed authorization cards are presented and when the election is held. Currently, it can take months for an election to be held; the alternate provision would apparently shorten this period to five to ten days.