One Ugly Piece of LegislationBy Kim Phelan
Article Date: 04-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
There's still time to exterminate, but we'd best get on it fast.
So, let’s get it right out on the table – there’s a big scary union rat on the cover of your association magazine.
Have we become alarmists? I suppose that depends on your definition – AED’s aim, both on the advocacy front in Washington, D.C., and editorially in CED, is not to hyper-dramatize or create panic about the “card check” bill, which poses the very real threat of becoming law in a matter of weeks when you read this. Rather, by sounding a loud alarm about this serious risk to your business, we hope to both enlighten you and engage your participation in the furious fight being waged against this congressional cataclysm.
If you’re reading this message within the early half of April, then there is still time for you to write and call both your own state’s elected officials and some specific targeted senators in whose hands may rest the ultimate fate of Organized Labor’s No. 1 priority this year: The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). AED gives you the resources you need at our AED Card Check Action Center – connect to it from our home page: www.aednet.org. I would also go so far as to urge you to openly educate your employees about card check and provide them with tools to communicate with lawmakers, too.
An article on page 40 of this issue outlines the essence of this proposed labor legislation, its three main provisions and their detrimental implications for employers and employees alike. We’ve also summarized the current (as of mid-March) status and projections about the bill, and the business community’s fierce and effective campaign against EFCA.
Back to the Rat
The danger I dread (beyond the ugly future of companies operating under a card check regime) is that the population of AED dealers who own small businesses – with, say, 10, 20, 30 employees – will take one look at that rat, the universally recognized symbol of union tactics, and think, “Well, good thing that’ll never happen to me.”
Au contraire, my small-business friends. Jade West, who is senior vice president of Government Affairs for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, a senior coordinator of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, and a leading business lobbyist on Capitol Hill, says that the irony of card check is that it puts small business at great risk; in essence, it gives Organized Labor its best-ever skeleton key to your office.
Here’s a scenario Ms. West provided during a teleconference AED hosted on March 11:
Over a weekend, [union organizers] will visit employees at their homes, at their cars in the parking lot, or invite them across the street for a pizza on Friday night. And on Sunday at their union hall they’ll count up the cards; if they’ve got 50 percent plus 1 of the cards from that workforce, they will walk into that employer’s office on Monday morning and say, “How do you do, we are your collective bargaining agent,” said West.
What’s more, West says, if the union organizers do not successfully accrue a sufficient majority of your company’s entire workforce but manage to win 50 percent plus one of your technicians, for example, they will fax the signed cards to the National Labor Relations Board on Monday morning and then head for the company owner’s office and introduce themselves as the bargaining representatives of that segment of your employees.
“Small businesses are probably more highly at risk under card check than any large employer,” said West, “because [organizers] can do it in a short period of time and the employer doesn’t know it’s coming.”
Except now you do.
Thanks for reading.
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