With the results of last November’s blockbuster election finally settling in, Congress’ incumbents and new members are about to go back to work. Organized labor is hoping that their strong support during the elections for Democratic candidates will reap benefits for their agenda, including passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Card check is going to be one of the first issues brought up by Congressional leadership.
As in 2007’s legislative fight, the Senate once again will be the final bastion of defense. However, last November’s election results will make this a very difficult job.
By AH&LA’s estimation, card check now has 58 potential supporters in the Senate, up from 51. The seven new Democratic Senators are expected to come to Capitol Hill with seven yea votes for EFCA. The prior votes on card check have all been mostly party-line votes, and the expectation is that it will remain the same in the new 111th Congress. With 60 votes necessary for Senate rules to bring legislation to the floor, card check is dangerously close to finding enough supporters who will allow that vote. And like the House, once it is brought up for a vote, only a simple majority is needed to send it to President-elect Barack Obama, who has promised to sign it.
As a hotel operator, you need to be concerned about EFCA’s passage whether you manage a large urban hotel or a small independent property serving interstate highway travelers. If EFCA is signed into law, lodging industry businesses will immediate face a number of new operating challenges:
n Loss of the secret ballot in workplace elections. This bill will eliminate the need for a union to win an actual election to become an employee’s representative.
“Since 1935, employees have enjoyed the right to decide whether or not they want to be unionized by casting ballots in NLRB conducted secret ballot elections,” said Jack Toner, partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a leading labor law firm in Washington, D.C. “Because of the integrity of the process, knowledgeable labor law practitioners have called the NLRB’s secret ballot election process the ‘crown jewel’ of our nation’s labor policies.”
Under EFCA, the check card itself will become the new “ballot.” What was once just a card that indicated a preference for an election now becomes the election itself.
But unlike a secret ballot cast today in private away from anyone else’s view, the union organizing card is often obtained through intimidation, misinformation, and promises that cannot be delivered.
n Small lodging businesses will be major targets for union organizing. If unions obtain card check, a significant number of employers who haven’t worried about union organizing could see large segments of their workforce becoming unionized. This would happen regardless of a company’s labor environment or a state’s right-to-work laws. Small businesses would then be easier for unions to organize and will see rapid union penetration into their workforce.
n Card check will affect the bottom line—or worse. A new union is a business expense, and many businesses already operating on thin margins will immediately notice the costs. Estimates of between 3 to 5 percent in additional operating costs will show dramatic results against a business in a weakened economy. EFCA also authorizes large fines on employers if they do not comply. And small businesses will need to hire professional legal counsel to help steer through the legal minefield that accompanies union organizing drives.
n Compulsory first contract arbitration. If a business does not agree to a union’s demands within 120 days (for instance, to do so would cause the business to go bankrupt), the bill would impose binding contracts on both parties by government-run arbitration panels. Bureaucrats who do not know a lodging business would impose “agreements” on employers, employees, and the union. A government bureaucrat would be able to determine everything from what the thickness of a mattress will be, how many square feet a housekeeper can clean in one day, and to what profit a hotelier is entitled. One uninformed arbitration decision could have a devastating financial impact on a business.
Those on both sides of this issue are marshalling their forces in anticipation of the legislative fight ahead. In some cities, union organizers are already conducting card check campaigns against hotels. In Washington, D.C., anti-card-check advertisements in political journals are already appearing, trying to get a head start on the legislative debate.
Two years ago, AH&LA co-founded a large coalition that is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights. The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which maintains www.MyPrivateBallot.com, early in 2008 anticipated significant changes in Congress and increased its efforts to raise public awareness about the threat the bill posed to privacy and employee rights. AH&LA and CDW have put the new Congress on notice that America is watching and holding it accountable.
There will be also a large grassroots component of this fight, and that is where hospitality industry members need to become energized. Don’t stand aside and let this happen to your business without a fight. There is much you can do:
n Contact your lawmakers—urge them to vote NO. Many lawmakers say they do not hear from their constituents about this issue and assume business owners are undisturbed about its passage. We must show Congress how much this issue will hurt our industry if we are to have a chance to stop this legislation.
n Make sure your employees learn the facts about union membership. With the legislative push for card check, reports are coming from Texas and Indiana that union organizers are renewing their efforts to collect union authorization cards at lodging properties. Unions are notorious for misusing their member’s dues, opposing pay raises based on individual performance and other drawbacks. If you are seeking real facts about union membership, visit www.unionfacts.com and www.unionreports.gov.
Monday, June 10, 2013 by social bookmarks
hWO5fA wow, awesome blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic. http://crork.com/
Thursday, June 06, 2013 by social bookmarking service
4wGjXT Very good article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.
Thursday, March 08, 2012 by Discount OEM Software
Ebx6Th Thanks again for the blog.Much thanks again. Really Cool.