Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that a “face-off is brewing between labor and employers” in regards to the Employee Free Choice Act, which would aid American workers in the path toward unionization. Indeed, despite the bill having widespread public support, the debate surrounding it is becoming increasingly vitriolic.
The Wonk Room previously highlighted Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus’ assertion that retailers who are not fighting the Free Choice Act “should be shot.” Now, the United States Chamber of Commerce has upped the ante, saying that the “coming fight in Congress over the issue” is a “firestorm bordering on Armageddon.”
In its efforts to stifle the act, the Chamber launched a $10 million campaign against it last week:
The chamber deployed a network of operatives in a number of key Senate races this year and campaigned aggressively — on the air and on the ground — against the card-check legislation. It will be maintaining those operations, hoping to win over some senators and peel back others, in addition to running TV ads. Last week it released the first in a series of reports refuting what it calls union rhetoric.
The Chamber claims that the Free Choice Act would end the use of secret ballots in union elections. However, the act is not really about the secret ballot at all, but about elections that “are anything but free and fair.” As Josh Blevins noted, elections are currently “one-sided affairs dominated by the employer.”
American Rights at Work recently released a report showing that “many employers blatantly violate” the National Labor Relations Act by “firing, demoting, or retaliating against workers for their support of a union [and] ignoring their duty to negotiate a contract.” Ultimately, employers have little reason to follow current unionizing laws “as the financial disincentives of violating the law are minimal.”
What the Free Choice Act does is give workers another option — one in which they will be able to avoid these kinds of employer intimidation and delays.