Craig Steiner

One of the more egregiously misnamed bills in the history of Congress has got to be the “Employee Free Choice Act,” a measure which is neither pro-employee nor a free choice. What it really does is allow union bosses to force employers to recognize a union as the workforce’s bargaining agent without the hassle of a supervised, secret ballot election.

Known on Capitol Hill as H.R. 800, the proposed law would require employers to let a union into their family if the union bosses are able to strong-arm or fool a majority of workers into signing a “card” indicating support for the union. “Yo, Tony, you wanna join da union, don’t ya?” asks the burly, 300-pound organizer with a baseball bat in one hand and a set of brass knuckles on the other. “Just sign this little ol’ card, capisce?”

What kind of “free choice” does that poor “employee” have?

Nevertheless, the new-and-improved Democrat majority (lemon-freshened!) under Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed H.R. 800 a couple weeks ago. Its fate is now in the hands of the new-and-improved (with retsin!) Democrat majority in the Senate under Harry Reid. With any luck, pro-employee Republicans will be able to use Senate rules, including the filibuster, to block this sop to organized labor.

But to show how this bill is really all about boosting the Unionistas sagging membership numbers and nothing about the average American worker, consider some of the amendments offered by Republicans during debate over the bill in the House. Amendments which never saw the light of day and were crushed like a beer mug (http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/1998/jan/29/506763908.html) across the skull of a tourist crossing a Las Vegas Strip picket line.

An amendment put forward by Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.) would have made it an unfair labor practice for a union to fail to return a previously signed authorization card within five days of an employee’s request. In other words, if an “employee” wanted to exercise his or her “free choice” by changing their mind and asking to tear up the “card” they signed supporting the union, they’d be allowed to do so. But this pro-employee amendment didn’t make it into the bill.

An amendment by Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) would have prevented labor unions from collecting any membership fees from an employee without first verifying that the employee was either a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident permitted to work in the United States. It doesn’t make sense to allow illegal aliens to take the jobs of citizens and workers who immigrated here legally, right? But this pro-U.S. worker amendment didn’t make it into the bill.


Craig Steiner

Craig Steiner is a writer and political activist from Denver, Colorado.

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