Card Check — 3 Years Later

by Glenn Spencer
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Tomorrow marks three years since the Card Check bill was defeated in the U.S. Senate, falling nine votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Though the bill has yet to come up for debate during this Congress, employers would be well advised to remain focused on this lingering threat.

In recent days, Senate HELP Committee Chair Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has ratcheted up the rhetoric on Card Check, hinting yesterday that the bill could come up in a “lame duck” session of Congress late in 2010. At a United Auto Workers rally days earlier, Sen. Harkin declared:

“Right now, there are a lot of naysayers here in D.C. who are counting out the Employee Free Choice Act. I’ve got a simple message for those people: We are going to keep fighting for EFCA — for as long as it takes.”

One can make their own judgment about whether these statements are a true shot across the bow or mere political posturing. But organized labor has real motives to press forward with a vote on Card Check, even if defeat seems likely. As written, the bill would almost certainly garner more votes on the Senate floor than it did in 2007. This would allow unions to claim that Card Check continues to build momentum.

Furthermore, a mildly-watered down bill or various segments of the legislation taken alone may come dangerously close to passing. With America’s job creators under assault from all sides, Card Check, and any iterations thereof, continue to pose a grave threat.

Meanwhile, the union agenda is moving full speed ahead in the Executive branch. The National Labor Relations Board is exploring the prospect of e-voting, or “Cyber” Card Check for unions. The Department of Labor is cracking down on unpaid internships and the use of independent contractors. The administration is contemplating issuing the “high road” executive order on federal contracting that would rig the procurement process in favor of unionized firms. The bottom line is that any complacency amongst job creators about organized labor’s anti-growth agenda is seriously misplaced.

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