February 26 2009
Policy Brief #17: Card Check Will Harm, Not Help, American Workers
The secret ballot process is fundamental to American democracy. It ensures that individuals can vote their conscience with a shield of privacy. For more than sixty years this simple principle has been central to workplace unionization debates. But the Employee Free Choice Act aims to rob workers of this essential protection.
Instead of secret ballot elections (or any election, really) a union would be recognized once a simple majority of employees sign a union card. This process, known as "card check," is done publicly and leaves workers vulnerable to harassment, coercion, and other abuse (from either union organizers or companies) to either sign or not sign a card. The bill flies in the face of American democracy and is riddled with many problems, including concerns of legality. Studies indicate that the card check process does not accurately represent workplace preferences regarding unionization and many fear that the elimination of elections will lead to a more, not less, politicized workplace.
Simply put, American workers would be worse off under the Employee Free Choice Act.