Proper ‘unionizing’ is under threat

As the economy slows, employees and employers are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and increasing costs. For employees, the cost of living continues to rise, while for employers the costs of business makes them less competitive/profitable in today’s marketplace.

If you cannot compete or you take in less profit, what is the motivation of staying in business — what will keep the economy alive? The employees’ decision to certify a union in the workplace has significant consequences to answering these personal and business concerns. At the end of the day, it is the employee and/or the employer that feels the effects of that decision.

Proper “unionizing” is under a real threat. Unions are counting votes, they are taking names, they are watching every worker in America. Employees are about to lose all anonymity in their private ballot if unions get their way.

The current method of certifying a union is one that protects both the employee and the employer from making poor decisions. It allows unions to organize in a way that is free from intimidation and coercion by anyone, the employer or the union alike. Currently, union organizers take pledge cards around to employees and ask them to request from the employer one of two things — a private ballot election (monitored by the National Labor Relations Board) or to simply allow the union to form immediately. If the union certification passes in a private ballot election then the employer must recognize the union as representing the employees.

This method of certifying unions has been in place for decades, but now the unions want to drastically change the system.

With leaders of Congress taking direction from union organizers, they are considering an eerily named piece of legislation called The Employee Free Choice Act, or EFCA. If passed, this act will strip employees of the right to a private ballot election when deciding to certify a union and restrict the rights of an employer who is facing a rugged union organizing effort.

The union’s biggest challenge is not that forming a union is difficult, it is that workers are not eager to join a union today. Considering the choice between the high cost of living and the extreme high cost of doing business in America’s economic climate it is no wonder.

In 2006, a Zogby poll found that, given the opportunity to vote to join a union a plurality of employees, 40.4 percent, said they were “definitely against” joining a union, while another 17.8 percent said they are “probably against” joining — hardly a majority of workers. In 2007, another poll completed by the Opinion Research Corp. found that 64 percent of workers said they would prefer their present job to be non-union.

If passed The Employee Free Choice Act will limit or strip the employee and the employer from the process. The employee will have his right to a private ballot election taken away, while employers are neutered entirely from educating and explaining the economic impact of the decision. Knowledge is power — so why do unions only think about vote-counting, worker’s dues and ridding ourselves of due process — rather than properly focusing on jobs and economic insecurity? It’s an interesting question and not one I have an answer to.

Kevin Attar is chairman of Surge Industries.

Categories: Opinion