Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: EFCA will eliminate elections

A lot has been said about how the Employee Free Choice Act effectively eliminates secret ballot elections for unionization. All the rhetoric boils down to a single phrase in the law:

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a). (emphasis added)

Basically, if a union turns in signed cards from a bare majority of employees, the NLRB is explicitly barred from conducing a secret ballot election. Thus, under EFCA the only way to obtain a secret ballot election is if a union turns in cards from more than 30% of the employees but less than 50%. As soon as they turn in cards from a majority, the NLRB “shall not direct an election.”

The problem, as I’ve written about before, is that unions almost never petition for an election without signed cards from at least 60% of the employees. That’s because the unions know that some employees sign a card to “get the union off my back,” and ultimately vote “no” inside a secret ballot booth.

When I wrote about this before, I linked to a number of unions’ internal organizing guidelines (some of the unions even removed their admission after I linked to them). But I just came across a much better source: American Rights at Work’s (ARAW) website. ARAW is the the 800lb union front group gorilla fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. In a working paper by John-Paul Ferguson and Thomas Kochan that ARAW published on its website they wrote:

In practice nearly all unions require at least a showing of majority support before petitioning for an election.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret Ballots