In an ongoing effort to prove Ralph Nader fantastically wrong (re: “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum” and “it being impossible to tell the difference between the two parties”), to silence those who don’t think government responds to progressive concerns anymore, and to pass good legislation, the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act today. This bill is relatively obscure, but a great move.
The Employee Free Choice Act allows card check organization of unions, rather than the current election system. Card check means that as soon as a majority of workers sign cards and ship them off to the NLRB, an accredited union that can engage in collective bargaining with an employer pops up instantly.
Under the current election system, first a majority of workers have to sign a card, then the NLRB certifies an election, then a majority of the workers months later have to certify the union. In theory, there shouldn’t be much of a difference, but businesses these days engage in comprehensive unionbusting; when the elections are announced, the business has time to transfer, fire, or intimidate workers in the elections. On the other hand, card check should avoid many of those problems, although some critics believe that union pressure will be a problem. Statistically, though, employer intimidation is generally a bigger problem than union intimidation.
It’s a great move by Nancy Pelosi and the House. I don’t expect it to pass the Senate—the margins are too small, and a filibuster will probably be the result—but it’s worth a try and it’s worth it to put Republicans on the record as opposing the bill.