April 29, 2009

William Felkner: Card-Checking Arlen Specter

Engaged Citizen

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has become a Democrat. Many view this as only a change of label, but it could have a significant impact nonetheless.

As you may all be painfully aware, card-check legislation is pending in Washington. If passed, it would eliminate the secret ballot for workers and give unions the ability to knock on potential members' doors and say whatever it takes to get a signature on a small card, which will still be a binding legal document that would force collective bargaining on an employer.

Elimination of the secret ballot also eliminates the assurance that the worker has ample opportunity to hear both sides of the argument.

This legislation has been struggling to be passed. Inside the beltway rumors have it that the swing vote, Senator Specter, hasn’t received enough "support" from the unions yet but was keeping the door open to persuasion.

My birdies that fly south-right for the winter tell me that the Republican National Committee has threatened Specter that if he supported card-check it would throw its support behind his likely primary opponent, Pat Toomey. Well, it looks like we can call him the general election opponent now.

Regardless of where this shakes out, it still bodes ill for workers' rights to secret ballots. The Democrats, who are clearly taking direction from the unions on this issue, are only one or two votes away from the 60 needed to close out the Republicans (depending on how the
Franken/Coleman race goes). Because card-check is such bad legislation, any compromise will be a step in the wrong direction.

Bill Felkner is the president of the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, sponsor of the LRB Watch website and the Transparency Train public information portal.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Specter was a fool to think that just because he flip-flopped on the issue, Toomey was going to go away. He got played by the conservatives...badly.
That said, I'm not so sure he makes it to the '10 ballot, given his age and health issues.

Posted by: rhody at April 29, 2009 10:08 AM

more lies about EFCA from the right wing. EFCA doesn't eliminate the secret ballot. It just gives the choice to the workers instead of the Boss.

Should the workers get a vote before a company joins the Chamber of Commerce?

Posted by: Pat Crowley at April 29, 2009 10:12 AM

>>It just gives the choice to the workers instead of the Boss.


The workers won't know who signed cards.

Or how many signed cards.

Or if a majority signed cards.

Only the union will.

And only the union will decide when or if to submit the signed cards to the NLRB, for immediate recognition or for an election (and in the real world the latter will be exceedingly rare - probably never).

Crowley et als. are equating the unions and "workers" as being one in the same for purposes of pushing EFCA.

As anyone who is even remotely familiar with labor unions, union bosses and union political agendas knows, "workers" and "unions" are totally separate and distinct. Karl Marx may have considered them to be interchangeable, but out here in the real world we know better.

To equate labor unions and workers as being the same is another union LIE - one of many that they've been spewing about EFCA (starting with its Orwellian title, for this bill greatly diminishes employee free choice).

Follow the money, it's all about union power and dues to pay the salaries of Crowley and his comrades.

Posted by: Tom W at April 29, 2009 11:13 AM

Pat Crowley,
Seeing as you've labeled the conservative interpretation a “LIE”, maybe you can give us your interpretation of how the process would proceed step by step.

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