Cracks in Democratic Unity Spell Problems for Card Check

Championed by the Democratic majority’s Big Labor bosses, the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate as early as today.  More popularly known as “card check,” the bill would end American workers’ right to a secret ballot in voting whether to unionize their workplace by having the “choice” be signing union cards in open meetings instead of private, where union pressure tactics can have less effect.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) studied the implications of the “card check” legislation and unearthed additional dangers secreted in a provision in the bill known as “mandatory arbitration”:

“Another EFCA provision — requiring mandatory arbitration of initial collective bargaining agreements — is even more problematic than the elimination of the secret ballot.  Under the EFCA, a company and a union would have only ninety days to negotiate an initial collective bargaining agreement following certification.  If they are unsuccessful, either party can demand mediation.  If, after thirty days, mediation proves unsuccessful, a contract will be imposed on the company and the union by a panel of arbitrators through a process known as “interest arbitration.”  The arbitrators would have the authority to dictate the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, including wages, benefits, and work rules.  The contract thus created would be binding upon the parties for two years.”

This provision would empower government arbitrators to set the terms of any dispute between the union bosses and the business leaders.  And because “card check” would essentially gut voluntary collective bargaining, unions would have every incentive not to negotiate with employers and instead wait for the government appointed arbitrators to resolve conflicts.  There is little doubt under the Obama administration that the government would favor union bosses.

It is not surprising that this overreaching “card check” bill also has its vocal opponents on the left.  On CNBC Monday, uber liberal and Obama mentor Warren Buffett weighed in pointedly against the bill.  “I think the secret ballot’s pretty important in the country. You know, I’m against card check, to make a perfectly flat statement,” Buffett said.

The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) last week presented a new study by noted economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar, An Empirical Assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act: The Economic Implications, which concluded that every three percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration would result in a one percentage point rise in unemployment the following year.  The estimated increase of 1.5 million union members in year one directly attributed to the passage of EFC would lead to the loss of 600,000 jobs by the following year– equal to the entire population of Boston, Mass.

 “This legislation does away with a bedrock in our democracy — the secret ballot — exposing workers to intimidation and coercion.  It also places the federal government squarely in the middle of the workplace by having government arbitrators impose contract terms on small businesses.  Both these provisions would devastate our economy and result in the loss of millions of jobs during a recession that has already produced historic losses in both employment and capital,” said Katie Packer, WFI’s executive director.

House Republican Leader John Boehner remarked on the study’s new findings, “This study confirms that not only will card check take away workers’ right to a secret ballot, it may end up costing them their jobs — to the tune of 600,000 jobs lost in just one year. … This anti-worker legislation serves no one’s interests other than the political forces intent on taking away the right to privacy in the workplace in order to expand union ranks and fill their coffers even further.”

Obama’s Assault on the Unborn Continues

Last week, the Obama administration announced its intention to rescind a federal rule that protects medical providers who decline to perform abortions for religious or moral reasons.  This move is now threatening to provoke the closure of Catholic hospitals and other faith-based heath care facilities throughout the country that simply will not be coerced into a violation of God’s law to satisfy President Obama’s far left political constituencies.  Coming in the wake of the President’s controversial move to repeal the Mexico City Policy that prevented taxpayer dollars from being used to export America’s abortion industry overseas, Obama has now lifted the ban on using federal funding to cause the destruction of embryos for the purposes of research.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to call attention to the stale research the Obama administration uses as an excuse to check yet another far left political box.  “Mr. Obama is way behind the times,” Smith said.  “Making Americans pay for embryo-destroying stem cell research is not change we can believe in.  Far from it.  It is politics.”

“Human embryo destroying stem cell research is not only unethical, unworkable and unreliable, it is now demonstrably unnecessary,” Smith continued.  “Now the greatest of all breakthroughs — induced Pluripotent Stem Cells — iPSC — offers hope for cures using embryo-like cells, without killing embryos.”

“On November 20, 2007, Japanese scientists Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Wisconsin researcher Dr. James Thompson shocked the scientific community by independently announcing their ability to drive iPS cells by reprogramming regular skin cells.  Unlike embryonic stem cells that kill the donor, are highly unstable, have a propensity to morph into tumors and are likely to be rejected by the patient unless strong anti-rejection medicines are administered, induced pluripotent stem cells, iPS cells, have none of those deficiencies and are emerging as the future, the greatest hope of regenerative medicine,” Smith concluded.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, said, “It is categorically wrong to fund unnecessary and immoral research that destroys human embryos.  In just a few short weeks, the President has made it clear he will use the office of the presidency to weaken protections for the unborn, and will do so using taxpayer dollars.  The President has ordered prolife taxpayers to foot the bill for promoting overseas abortions and for scientific research that destroys human embryos.”