Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

UFCW Union Card Deception

On Tuesday,’s Christopher Bean did a good job explaining how the Employee Free Choice Act effectively eliminates secret ballots in union organizing campaigns. He wrote:

Union elections are more complicated than either side admits. Maybe that’s why debate over the EFCA hangs on a single, simple question: Does the measure eliminate the “secret ballot” in union elections? Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say yes. (Warren Buffett has voiced his concern as well.) Labor groups like the SEIU and AFL-CIO say no. Which is it? Would the bill eliminate the secret ballot?

In theory, no. In practice, yes. That is, if you believe the secret ballot even exists now.

In the article Bean links to an example of a union card from the United Food and Commercial Workers (EFCA). The card is amusing. At the very top is says:

Filling out and signing this card is a demonstration of your interest to be represented by UFCW Local 324.

Doing so does NOT automatically make you a Union member.

…except when it does.

How’s that for deception? The UFCW has been at the forefront of using EFCA-style Card Check/Neutrality campaigns to organize new workers. In those campaign, the union card is the only method of gauging an employee’s interest in joining the union. If the company agrees (which the union see to), then the union is certified. Basically, the card is the vote.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret BallotsUFCW