FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2008
Employee Forced Choice Act offers false hopes to workers; threatens economy
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry today urged Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to reject the deceptively titled Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or "union card check," and recognize the measure for what it is – an ill-conceived proposal that benefits union bosses at the expense of worker freedoms and job growth.
EFCA’s main provisions would all but eliminate the private ballot for union organizing and replace the current system of good faith collective bargaining with government binding arbitration.
"The only free choice is through a private ballot," said Gene Barr, PA Chamber vice president of government and public affairs. "Contrary to organized labor’s claims, this proposal threatens the economy at the worst possible time and destroys fundamental worker freedoms in the process."
Eliminating the private ballot would open up workers to intimidation and harassment from coworkers, managers, employers and union leaders.
"Workers’ right to unionize is strongly protected under current law," Barr stressed. "Workers also have the right to reject unionization if they so desire. The private ballot system ensures that they can do so without fear of retribution."
Additionally, under EFCA, workers in some instances would no longer have the right they now enjoy to vote on the final contract.
But it’s EFCA’s ongoing threat of forced government arbitration that would prove most damaging to the nation’s economic growth and prospects for recovery.
"In essence, a government official who may have no or limited knowledge of a specific industry or business could officially be put in charge of making decisions on wages, hours and benefits, as well as other terms of employment such as management rights and outsourcing," Barr said. "The unpredictable and inflexible business operating environment that would greet job creators under EFCA could prove too much to handle for many businesses already struggling to stay afloat – particularly the medium-sized to smaller companies that would become targets under EFCA.
"This is not what is needed to turn our economy around, and would very likely have the opposite effect."
The PA Chamber, along with 12 other Pennsylvania business associations, recently sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation outlining their opposition to this starkly anti-worker, anti-business proposal.
"In today’s economic climate, government should seek ways to bring employers and employees together," the coalition letter stressed. "We all contribute to the economic health and social fabric of our communities and our nation. Public policy needs to support our positive bonds, not drive new divisions between workers, unions and employers."
The Employee Free Choice Act, Barr concluded, is not in the best interest of workers, employers or the nation’s economic well-being.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy association, with its membership comprising nearly 50 percent of the private workforce.