Employee Free Choice Act

Floridians for Responsible Policy Opposes

the Employee Free Choice Act



BACKGROUND:

The Democratic Party has a proud legacy of defending many of the most fundamental values of our American democracy.  Their principled and ardent defense of civil rights, voting rights, equal protection, privacy and workplace fairness has been a traditional cornerstone of the party and has helped make the country the envy of the world.  Through social unrest, economic downturns, foreign conflicts and other challenges, the Democratic Party has time and again risen to the challenge of fighting for these values even when it wasn’t politically popular.

ANALYSIS:

Support for the Employee Free Choice Act threatens to reverse that legacy and undermine decades of Democratic leadership on many of their core values as a party as well as our core values as Americans.  While the legislation seeks to increase union membership and address perceived shortcomings in the current relationship between employers and workers, the unintended negative consequences of the legislation will prove to be much more significant to the country than will the short term implications of increasing unionization in the workforce.  In short, the long term costs will far outweigh any short term benefits.  Our opposition is centered on four key areas:

Elimination of the Secret Ballot:

Millions of Americans go to the polls every election cycle.  Most Americans get their ballot, enter the voting booth, pull the curtain and exercise their most basic and fundamental right as Americans – casting a vote of their choice in private – away from public view and protected from undue influence.  This legislation would substitute a card – signed in public in front of colleagues and peers – for their legally protected private vote.  In essence, a worker by virtue of doing no more than stepping into their workplace – would be in the position of surrendering a basic American principle, a private vote.  In light of the historical Democratic legacy of expanding suffrage, extending voting rights and eliminating historical barriers to participation, no Democrat should ever be in the position of eliminating access to a secret ballot and dismissing such a fundamental protection as privacy.

Equal Protection:

If passed, this legislation would all but eliminate the employer’s access to their own workers to discuss the implications of a collective bargaining unit in the workplace.  Current procedures – most of which were put in place by Democrats and advocated by organized labor –  call for the NLRB to closely monitor the process to ensure that both sides have an equal chance to advocate their position before employees and that no unfair practices are enjoined by either side.  However, in the instances where a worker has felt undue pressure from the UNION or the EMPLOYER, the great equalizer has always been access to a SECRET BALLOT.  No Democrat should ever be in the position of advocating against equal access and equal protection.

Disenfranchise Workers:

The binding arbitration provisions of the legislation will potentially disenfranchise workers through forcing solutions on the workplace from mediators that have little or no knowledge of the particular industry. Under current law, the workers are protected by their ability to approve or reject the agreement their union has negotiated on their behalf. Critical checks and balances like this empower the worker to be a critical voice in the process. Under this proposed legislation, the workers would be denied the right to vote on the provisions on their new contract. Their pay, benefits and other workplace issues would be decided without their participation. This is fundamentally anti-worker and yet another example of how this legislation marginalizes the very workers it espouses to protect. Additionally, the perspective of appointed mediators will be inconsistent over time as various administrations come and go making workers vulnerable to shifting political winds. This is patently unfair to them and damaging to their workplace.

The Ends Don’t Justify the Means:

Democrats are currently engaged on several vital national security issues where they are arguing that some of our policies are clear violations of our constitutional principles and that the benefits of those policies are not worth the cost of suspending our core values. Similarly, the undermining of basic voting rights, workplace protections and core democratic principles is far too high of a price for the payoff of short term political expediency.  Democrats should stand on principle and acknowledge that the ends don’t justify the means.

SUMMARY:

Labor unions are a vital component of our national economy and an important voice on a myriad of issues affecting not only the workplace but the country.  Democrats should be commended in their efforts to assist the Unions in achieving their public policy goals and should continue to advocate on behalf of workers across the country.  However, Floridians for Responsible Policy believes that this can be done in a way that doesn’t undermine decades of Democratic leadership on these important issues and compromise the core values of democrats or everyone’s as Americans.



What Newspaper Editorials and Opinion Leaders Are Saying

Florida Times Union (Jacksonville)

Tampa Tribune

SP Times

Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale)

Orlando Sentinel



LEGISLATION

111TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. R. 1409

To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system
to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide
for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing
efforts, and for other purposes.
Click here to for full Legislation (PDF)
Click here for legislation website