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.


Fact Sheet

March 26, 2009

Oppose the So-Called Employee Free Choice Act

  • Democrats have once again introduced the Employee Free Choice Act, a woefully misnamed piece of legislation that would actually take away workers’ rights by effectively doing away with secret ballots for union organizing. 
  • Under current law, most union organizing elections are conducted with federally-supervised secret ballot elections. Secret ballots protect workers from intimidation, coercion, and retribution based on how they vote. 
  • Under the “card check” scheme that has been proposed by congressional Democrats, a union would be formed as soon as a simple majority of workers sign public authorization cards. 
  • The anti-worker card check plan replaces the private vote with a public sign-up. It’s as simple as that. 
  • But card check doesn’t stop there. It could also take away workers’ right to vote on their first contract by imposing binding arbitration if a first contract isn’t reached within just 120 days. 
  • This puts federal bureaucrats – who likely know nothing about a particular business or industry – in charge of how American workplaces are run. 
  • Finally, the bill tilts the playing field by imposing tough new penalties on employers while doing nothing to strengthen protections for workers against intimidation, violence, or retribution by union organizers. 
  • Card check is undemocratic – even former Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern has said so. “Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak … Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.” 
  • Card check is also a job killer. A new report from economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar of the non-partisan firm LECG Consulting found that America is likely to see a 1 percentage point rise in unemployment for every 3 percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration.  
  • That translates to 600,000 American jobs lost in the first year after card check is enacted if union bosses are accurate in their predictions that 1.5 million existing jobs will be unionized because of the legislation. 
  • Billionaire investor and noted Obama supporter/advisor Warren Buffett has joined the growing number of voices who oppose card check. He recently told CNBC: “…I think the secret ballot’s pretty important in the country … I’m against card check to make a perfectly flat statement…”