U.S. Chamber Calls on Gov. Schwarzenegger to Veto Card Check Bill
— Urges Whitman and Brown to help protect workers’ private vote
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto a bill that would open the door for card check union organizing of agricultural workers throughout the state. The Chamber sent accompanying letters to Attorney General Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, asking that they join in urging the governor to veto the bill and vow to do similarly if elected governor.
“In addition to stripping workers of a private vote, this bill would signify a ‘red light’ to the broader business community about the environment for job creation in California,” wrote Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “With the state’s economy currently faltering, California can ill afford for new and growing businesses to think twice about locating there.”
The bill, S.B. 1474, has passed both houses of the California state legislature and could be taken up by Governor Schwarzenegger imminently. The bill would make it too easy to certify a union without a secret ballot election as it broadens the availability of card check organizing. Employees are commonly pressured or misled into signing such cards. Often employees believe signing the cards indicates support for holding an election or sign the card simply to get organizers off their backs. Though amended to require employer misconduct to trigger reliance on a card check, business advocates fear that the standard will be applied broadly to facilitate card check organizing.
Since 2008, the U.S. Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative has fought the erosion of private ballot elections over whether to form a union at the federal level through the “Employee Free Choice Act.” The Initiative will continue to monitor and contest similar efforts at the state level.
Recently, the U.S. Chamber launched a major issue advocacy program in California by releasing a new report that highlights the state’s spiraling deficit, rising taxes, and growing regulations, and offers a state economic growth plan. The Chamber’s report, titled The Golden State Action Plan, calls for the removal of roadblocks to private investments in California’s transportation, energy, water, and broadband infrastructure, and is asking that the state’s failing public schools be overhauled.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations, including tens of thousands of California members. Ninety-six percent of Chamber members are small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.