June 25 2009
IWF in the News: Employee Free Choice Act Hurts Small Business
I take issue with a joint opinion piece on the stalled card check bill (a.k.a. Employee Free Choice Act) featured on June 14 ("In need of real labor reform," Commentary).
In this piece, former U.S. labor secretaries Ray Marshall and Robert Reich essentially equate the "greedy Wall Street executives" responsible for the financial meltdown to those who oppose this bill. It is ridiculous and misleading to reduce the debate over a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation to a battle between the "little guy" and "big business."
As the owner of a small paving company in La Grange, I oppose the bill. I've seen for myself how unions squander their members' dues while trying to unionize fair-paying businesses that faithfully provide goods and services to the public. Must my business be unionized to gain the support of these labor secretaries?
The National Small Business Association has come out against this bill. According to a recent study commissioned by the Independent Women's Forum, 61 percent of small business owners, once informed about the bill, believe it would hurt their business.
Perhaps the authors resorted to "guilt by association" because they realize this legislation cannot stand on its own merits. Marshall and Reich say the bill's principles, "giving workers a direct path to form unions, toughening penalties against employers who break the law and helping workers secure a first contract in a reasonable period of time," should not be compromised.
But anyone who reads the fine print will find the legislation is actually based on these principles: The elimination of the need for a secret ballot election in the union organizing process and binding arbitration.
Eliminating the voice of the employer, and the employee in some circumstances, seems like an odd way to go about giving workers a direct path to form unions. Toughening penalties against employers who break the law sounds fair, except the bill would not toughen penalties against unions that break the law. And, binding arbitration - which would essentially put business decisions in the hands of a government bureaucrat - would eliminate jobs and drive up the cost of doing business in Illinois and the rest of the country.
Small business owners are the engine of America, not the government, and definitely not the unions. It seems to me this bill should not only be "compromised;" it should be killed.
- Marty Halm, La Grange