Card-Check Rears its Ugly Head

June 20, 2018

Legislation was recently introduced in the Senate and House, the Workplace Democracy Act (WDA/S. 2810 and H.R. 5728), that would dramatically strengthen unions’ leverage in the workplace by adopting a handful of changes. Specifically, the WDA would: narrow who can lawfully be classified an independent contractor, nullify state right-to-work laws, and allow workers to vote in a union campaign through the informal method of “card check” instead of a secret-ballot vote.

This isn’t the first attempt at such legislation, card-check failed in the Senate in 2007 due to a Republican filibuster, and Senate Democrats never achieved the 60-vote threshold required to break a filibuster during President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.

Despite many attempts, the votes for card-check legislation still aren’t there. Sen. Sanders’ bill is mainly a gesture to rally the base before the 2018 midterms, and is likely a union litmus test for Democratic presidential hopefuls in 2020.

President Trump and the Republican-led Congress aren’t likely to address this type of legislation and they have virtually no chance of soon becoming law. But Sen. Sanders said he hoped his push would shift the conversation about jobs from the dropping unemployment rate to stagnant wages.

Among the key concerns NSBA has raised about the legislation are that it would:

  • Allow employees to form a union by a majority sign-up process, rather than an election;
  • Require companies to negotiate with a new union within 10 days of receiving a request;
  • Mandate that workers in every state pay some dues to unions that represent them; and
  • Expand the law’s definition of “employer,” a hotly debated term as the country’s contractor workforce expands.

NSBA has, and will continue to oppose this legislation, and recently signed on to a letter opposing these sweeping changes that would drastically tilt the scales in favor of unions.