Editor’s note: The following letter to U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) was written by Patti Wallner, president of the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Nemoir, advocacy chairman of the chamber.
The Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce is writing to urge you to vote AGAINST the Employee Free Choice Act, aka the Card Check Bill (H.R. 800/S. 1041). The Waukesha County Chamber, a membership organization of over 800 members businesses with 37,000 individuals, strongly opposes the Act because it deprives all employees of important rights they currently have in the workplace.
The Act will eliminate an employee’s right to a federally-supervised private ballot election, and replace it with a "card check" process. As you are aware, the secret ballot process is a hallmark of American society, and should not be eliminated so that union organizers will have an easier time forming unions in the workplace.
The Act will create the potential for intimidation and threats if an employee does not want to sign a card to form a union. Under the card check process, employees will be asked to openly choose their preferences for representation in the workplace in front of union representatives and other employees. The results of each employee’s decision will be known to the union representatives, and also to their employers. If an employee does not wish to sign a card, he/she could be pressured to do so by union organizers or other employees. No employee should ever face intimidation or threats in the workplace for any reason, especially if it is based on the question of whether to form a union.
The Act will allow a union to be formed very quickly if more than 50 percent of the employees sign cards. Under the Act, if more than 50 percent of employees sign cards, the National Labor Relations Board must recognize the results and certify a union. This means that union organizers could arrive at a place of business on Friday afternoon to collect signatures on the union cards, and a union could be formed by Monday morning if more than 50 percent of the employees sign the cards – without the employer or other employees even being aware that a card-signing campaign had been started.
Further, while this initiative affects all businesses, it will potentially have the greatest impact on small businesses. For example, in 2005, the National Labor Relations Board conducted 2,649 union representation elections. More than 20 percent of those elections involved bargaining units of fewer than 10 employees and a full 70 percent of the elections involved bargaining units of fewer than 50 employees. The card check bill would make union organizing cheaper and easier and would allow labor unions to target the smallest that may have limited resources to sustain themselves in a protracted card check election.
Due to a concern about the impact of this legislation on the American workforce, and the detrimental effects it could have on small business owners, we strongly urge you to OPPOSE this legislation, and vote AGAINST the Employee Free Choice Act (aka the Card Check Bill).
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.
Patti Wallner, president
Brian Nemoir, advocacy chairman