Employee Free Choice Act
Dear Member of Congress:
Having recently participated in leadership elections for the 110th Congress by secret ballot, we thought this would be a good opportunity to bring to your attention an issue of great concern for our industries and the individuals employed by our member companies.
Just as your constituents cast their vote on election day by secret ballot, and just as you recently cast a vote via secret ballot for the individuals you felt best suited to hold leadership positions in your party, American workers should have this traditional, democratic protection when making decisions about their own work environment.
As you may be aware, there is an attempt being made by organized labor to eliminate an employee's right to a secret ballot election during the union organizing process. Stripping employees of the democratic rights and protections provided by the secret ballot election process raise very serious concerns.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) provides employees with the right to form or join a union in order to collectively bargain with their employer. To be recognized by an employer, a union must demonstrate it has the support of a majority of the employees. To protect employees against undue coercion, this support is determined through a democratically-conducted election process, supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This process termed "secret ballot" is the same process we use in national elections throughout the country and the same process which protected your anonymity during the recent leadership elections.
In recent years, organized labor has chosen to abandon this democratic process and instead rely more heavily on the top-down "card-check" method of organizing. This "card-check" method circumvents the democratic process by allowing unions to solicit and collect signatures in a public forum for union support and present the cards to the NLRB for union recognition.
With "card-check," the protections provided by the traditional balloting process—-most importantly, the removal of coercion and intimidation and the safeguarding of privacy—-are thrown out the window. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized this insufficiency by noting that "card-check" is "admittedly inferior to the election process." (NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co., 395 U.S. 575 (1969)).
During the 109th Congress, legislation was introduced that would gut the NLRA of the protections guaranteed to workers by eliminating their right to secret ballot elections and would replace that process with the "card-check" method of organizing. This legislation, erroneously named the Employee Free Choice Act, is sure to be reintroduced in the 110th Congress.
We ask that when you consider legislation to mandate a "card-check" system, you also remember the privacy you enjoyed when making decisions about who would represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives and the privacy your constituents enjoyed in electing you. Your constituents and our employees deserve no less.
Executive Vice President
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy
National Restaurant Association
Vice President, Government Relations
International Franchise Association
Executive Vice President for Public Policy
American Hotel & Lodging Association
Vice President of Government Affairs
Independent Electrical Contractors
William B. Spencer
Vice President of Government Affairs
Associated Builders and Contractors
Robert J. Green
Vice President, Government and Political Affairs
National Retail Federation Association
Senior Vice President of Government Relations
International Foodservice Distributors