Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace echoed right-wing talking points to ask Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) loaded question about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA): “Why is a secret ballot okay and desirable for Congress, “but you want to take it away for workers?” Wallace was referring to Democratic caucus’s vote on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and was lifted almost exactly from conservatives like Ed Morrissey, the Club for Growth, the Free Republic, and the Corner.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) dismissed Hoyer’s explanation that EFCA is needed to help workers who face employer intimidation form unions, claiming that “there’s almost an automatic election” if enough employees support unionization:
BOEHNER: If you get more than half of your employees to sign a card, there’s almost an automatic election.
WALLACE: It does sometimes get delayed though, sir.
BOEHNER: It may get delayed but it’s pretty hard to stop an election.
Boehner called the EFCA “an affront to the American people” and pledged to do “everything we can” to block the bill. Watch it:
Despite conservative fearmongering, the EFCA preserves the secret ballot election process, while also giving workers the option to unionize if a majority signs a petition to do so. Boehner is simply wrong when he says elections are automatic: Employers routinely set up hurdles to delay or prevent elections. “One out of four employers actually fire workers for trying to form a union,” the California Labor Federation explains. “Many employers hire expensive lawyers and anti-union consultants to delay any union election, sometimes for years.” Boehner is apparently blind to employers’ obstructionist tactics to prevent unionization:
— 92% of employers whose workers try to organize force workers to attend anti-union meetings and workers are disciplined or fired for leaving.
— 78% of employers force employees to meet with their supervisor to be interrogated about whether they want a union and asked to reveal which co-workers are union supporters.
— 75% of employers hire union-busting consultants to advise them on how to run an effective anti-union campaign.
— 51% of employers threaten to close the plant if workers vote for the union.
— 25% of employers actually FIRE at least one worker for supporting the union, even though it is against the law.
Such widespread anti-union intimidation efforts “takes the ‘secret’ out of the ‘secret ballot’ — the most common conservative mischaracterization of current union organizing rules,” writes the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s David Madland.