June 26, 2007

CRAPO: BILL OBSTRUCTS EMPLOYEE CHOICE

Employee Free Choice Act fails in the Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Idaho Senator Mike Crapo asserted that an employee has a right to privacy and free choice in the workplace by voting against the Employee Free Choice Act, H.R. 800. The bill, which would do away with an employee's right to a private ballot in union organizing elections, failed to move forward in the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48; 60 votes were needed.

"Employees should have the right to private ballots when deciding whether or not to join a union," Crapo said. "This bill takes that right away by replacing it with a 'card check' process that would be public to the employer, the union and other employees. The right to conduct elections by secret ballot is one of the most fundamental democratic rights we as Americans hold. In the workplace, a secret ballot is critical to ensure fair decision-making that is free from coercion or intimidation."

Under current law, employees can choose to join a union through a private ballot election certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). H.R. 800 would displace this system with the "card check" process. Under this process, a labor union is recognized as the representative of workers once it presents authorization cards signed by fifty percent plus one additional worker in any bargaining unit. The bill would also increase penalties imposed on employers for unfair labor practices.

"Protecting workers' rights is vital, but this legislation fails to accomplish this goal," Crapo said. "Ultimately, this measure would be detrimental to workers, employers and the economy and would restrict America's ability to compete on the global scale."