House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Dear Colleague

February 28, 2007

Top Ten Reasons How the So-Called “Employee Free Choice Act” Undermines Democracy, Workers’ Rights

In a reccent poll nearly 80 percent of Americans opposed the deceptively-titled "Employee Free Choice Act" (H.R. 800), which would strip away workers' rights to private ballot voting and replace it with as highly-controversial public viting or "card check" system.

Tomorrow, the House will consider this flawed legislation that threatens the very democratic process that - ironically - allowed its very authors to be elected to public office. As we prepare for debate, below you will find merely ten of the countless reasons why the card check bill is a threat to democracy and the American workers the sponsors of the bill purportedly protect...reasons why nearly eight in ten Americans agree the card check bill should die in Congress:

1. It kills the secret ballot in the workplace.  Members of Congress rely upon, treasure, and would fight to defend the secret ballot process to preserve when it comes to their own political careers…but apparently for some, not when it comes to the rights of workers.  Under current law, unions may organize through either a federally-supervised private ballot election or a “card check” system.  The so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” however, would kill private voting rights altogether and make workers’ votes public through a mandatory card check, in which union bosses gather authorization cards purportedly signed by workers expressing their desire for a union to represent them. 

    2. It leaves workers vulnerable to coercion and intimidation.  Mandatory card checks can strip workers of the right to choose – freely and anonymously – whether to unionize, and card checks notoriously leave workers open to coercion, pressure, and outright intimidation and threats.  Such an instance of intimidation was highlighted in testimony provided earlier this month to a U.S. House labor subcommittee by Karen M. (to protect her identity, she chose not to provide her full last name), an employee who described tactics used in a card check campaign at her company in Oregon.  During that card check drive, she told the subcommittee she and her colleagues were “subjected to badgering and immense peer pressure” and that she “exercised [her] free choice not to be in the union and [her] work life became miserable because of it.” 

    3. It strips workers of their right to privacy in the workplace.  Mandatory card checks make workers’ union organization votes completely and utterly public.  In other words, their co-workers, their employers, and their union organizers will know exactly how they voted.  How is that free choice? 

    4. Its sponsors in Congress are hypocritical.  A 2001 letter sent by the lead sponsor of “Employee Free Choice Act,” Rep. George Miller, and other House Democrats to Mexican – yes, Mexican – officials, stated, “We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required by Mexican labor law.  However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may otherwise not choose.”  This unprecedented instance of House Democrats weighing-in on election between two competing Mexican labor unions underscores the fact that card checks – in any scenario – are prone to intimidation. 

    5. Its supporters in organized labor are hypocritical.  Organized labor leaders have expressed strong support for secret ballot elections when workers are presented the opportunity to decertify a union at workplace.  Unions have argued passionately to the National Labor Relations Board that private ballots “provide the surest means for avoiding decisions which are the result of group pressures and not individual decisions.” 

    6.The bill simply amounts to Big Labor’s Big Payback.  Organized labor has seen its best days.  It’s hemorrhaging members at a steady pace – losing 325,000 members last year, down to 12 percent nationwide and 7.4 percent in the private sector.  That’s quite a fall from 20 percent a quarter century ago and a 35 percent high-water mark in the 1950s.  Faced with this reality, union bosses have reverted to full panic mode.  And after they helped usher into Congress a new Democrat majority – giving nearly $60 million in hard-dollar PAC contributions to Democrat candidates in the last election cycle, with tens of millions more for “get out the vote” efforts piled on top – they see a small window of opportunity; one final, desperate attempt to stop the bleeding.

    7. When it comes to union coercion, its supporters look the other way.  The bill would levy civil penalties upon employers if they coerce an employee during a card check campaign.  However, the bill remains silent on coercion from unions, choosing instead to stay silent and tacitly allow unions to participate in coercive tactics already well-documented in card check campaigns. 

    8. It strips away a worker’s right to vote on contracts.  The so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” is well-known for chipping away at a worker’s right to vote in union organization elections, but it doesn’t stop there.  It also would strip a worker of his or her ability to vote on contracts as well.  That means, by instituting mandatory arbitration, the bill would take away an employee’s right to vote on a contract that controls work rules, pay, and benefits.  Instead, by government fiat, that right would be given to a third-party mediator

    9. Americans support a federally-supervised private ballot election.  According to a January 2007 McLaughlin & Associates poll, 87 percent of Americans agree that “every worker should continue to have the right to a federally supervised secret ballot election when deciding whether to organize a union.”  89 percent believe a worker’s ballot should remain private, rather than making it public through the card check.  And 89 percent believe the secret ballot is the surest way to prevent intimidation from either employers or unions.  As a result, 79 percent of those polled explicitly oppose the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act.” 

    10. Union members support a federally-supervised private ballot election.  In July 2004, Zogby International conducted a survey of more than 700 union members, in which 71 percent of union members agreed that the current secret-ballot process is fair.  Zogby also found that 78 percent of union members said that Congress should keep the existing secret-ballot election process in place and not replace it with another process.

Join us in voting YES for the democratic rights of workers by voting NO on the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act." For more information on the bill, please contact the Education and Labor Committee Republican staff at x5-7101. 



   John Kline (R-MN)

   Ranking Republican

   Health, Employment, Labor, and

   Pensions Subcommittee



   Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)

   Senior Republican Member

   Education and Labor Committee