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Card check compromise gets cold shoulder

A suggestion for a card check compromise from Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, and Costco appears to be getting a cold shoulder from opponents as well as supporters of the labor issue that some have labeled an assault on democracy.

"There is no room for compromise on this issue," said John Conley, National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) president. "If anything, the fact that long-time liberal gadfly Lanny Davis (the attorney representing the compromise group and Democrat politico) is involved shows the forces pushing this un-American proposal are getting worried. You cannot compromise with the plague. Business must continue to fight to kill this bill, not to accommodate any of it."

Neither the American Trucking Associations (ATA) nor the card check coalition ATA belongs to, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, are in favor of a compromise, according to ATA information.

The AFL/CIO has stated it is opposed to the current compromise suggestion.

Labor unions such as the Teamsters and the AFL/CIO are driving support for the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, tagged card check, now in Congress. The White House has said the card check legislation is a priority for the administration.

The legislation that would allow workers to form unions without voting in private ballots was recently introduced into Congress by Rep George Miller (D-CA) and Sen Tom Harkin (D-IA). Opponents of the bill have labeled the legislation an attack on democracy.

"The legislation takes away a worker's right to a secret ballot in union organizing--a right that this free nation was built on and a right that is part of our history and democracy,” Sen John Ensign (R-NV) said earlier in a news release. “Instead, it provides a card check process, which could lead to aggressive intimidation tactics by union bosses.”

If eventually approved, the act would allow workers to form a union through majority sign-up by the use of a card check procedure. The measure would stiffen penalties against employers that illegally fire or discriminate against workers for their union activity during an organizing or first contract drive, including requiring employers to pay treble back pay to workers whom they are found to have illegally fired. It also would allow employers and newly-formed unions to refer bargaining to mediation and, if necessary, binding arbitration if they are not able to agree on a first contract, according to Senate information.

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that 600,000 jobs would be lost in the first year, if the legislation becomes law.

The recent compromise being suggested by Costco Wholesale Corp, Starbucks Coffee Corp, and Whole Foods Market Inc includes six principles, according to information from the group:

  • Secret Ballot. Guarantee the right of management and unions to require a secret ballot under all circumstances.
  • Certification and Decertification Treated Equally. Permit management to initiate a decertification campaign through a secret ballot election just as employees and unions are presently able to initiate certification and decertification campaigns.
  • Date Certain for Elections. Guarantee a fixed time period for the secret-ballot election, for example do not permit delays of an established day for a secret ballot to certify or decertify a union.
  • Equal Access to Employees for Campaign Purposes. Level playing field for unions and management to access employees during non-working hours during the campaign period, for example permitting each to make presentations to employees at a neutral location concerning the issue of whether to form a union.
  • Expedited Enforcement and Stricter Penalties. Expedited enforcement for serious and pervasive violations of law by labor and management and stricter penalties for serious and pervasive violations (for example, unlawful discharges), including the penalty of mandatory injunctions when appropriate.
  • Preserve Private Collective Bargaining. No mandatory arbitration that dictates contract terms, but stricter penalties and expedited enforcement for violations of good faith bargaining rules, including an expedited timetable to begin bargaining after union certification.
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