The Employee Free Choice Act 1. The “Employee Free Choice Act” would strip employees of their right to a confidential vote during union organizing campaigns. The private ballot would be replaced with a public signing of a declaration card. 2. With no secret ballot protection federal courts have confirmed that employees are subject to coercion in an open vote – making it much easier for unions to add millions of new members in non‐traditional sectors. 3. In Canada, provinces are split between using our current private ballot process vs. the petition‐like process with no election called “card check”. Projecting the Canadian card‐signing experience to our country, the change would provide U.S. unions with $5 billion in new dues revenue as labor quickly and easily organizes thousands of additional workplaces. (In 2003‐06 U.S. unions lost over 3,500 elections. If the proposed law had been in place they would have “won” all of them!) Approaching a Tipping Point 1. In the 1980 elections the Republicans had an unexpected Senate blowout and won 12 Senate seats – far more than predicted. Anemic Democrat support for Carter was the major unexpected factor. Turnout may also be the biggest 2008 political story. And the early primaries give a hint as to where turnout enthusiasm is pointed. 2. Labor unions have made a huge, unprecedented 2008 commitment in money and manpower to running the tables in the national elections and increasing their supporters’ turnout. 3. Labor unions have also received near‐universal commitments from Democrat candidates for President, Senate, and House seats to support legislation to toss private ballot elections out of the union organizing process. 4. The near Democrat unanimity in the 2007 House and Senate votes on the issue is stunning given the negative impact it has on business and individual rights. Only 2 Democrats in the House voted “NO.” All Senate Democrats voted “YES.” The Fallout 1. This change in the law would result in enormous wealth (billions of dollars in additional union dues) that will be used as “soft money” in elections to ensure a “radical left” Congress. (Private sector unions already have annual dues revenue over 7 billion dollars.) This new Congress will drive political policy pressures on taxes, health care, litigation reforms, trade, corporate governance, entitlement reform, capital formation etc. The cost to businesses and individuals from pending far left agendas may be without precedent. Not since the Johnson era have the unions had so much owed to them by the potential Democrat candidates. 2. The cost of new wage and benefit mandates will also be unprecedented. But the hidden cost of unionization is having to deal with labor contracts and diminished productivity through restrictive work rules including, restrictions on promotions, discharges, work schedules, staffing requirements and assignment of duties. These pressures on productivity are not fully appreciated by many business operators or HR executives who have not experienced them. Insuring against the Risk 1. The probability of the worst case scenario coming to pass is well over 50%. 2. As a frame of reference, consider that most businesses presently insure against some risks to hard assets that have a chance of occurring well below 50% and which have downside exposure of less cost than this law change would demand. 3. Because the trigger to all the downstream policy and operations problems will be the passage of the legislation to dramatically increase forced union dues cash flow, it stands to reason we should not allow that to occur. If it does, the collateral damage will be on auto pilot. A Solution 1. Ending secret ballot elections is an issue that polls very poorly for unions. Seventy‐eight percent of the public reject the idea. But only when they become aware of it. That is why labor is not trying to inject it into the current 2008 Senate campaigns. 2. There are presently 7‐8 Senate races (this number may go up or down based on early 2008 dynamics) where we can make an impact. 3. By mounting an information campaign we increase public awareness and define the issue as an attack on individual civil rights. We do it in a manner that allows and encourages the candidates to commit to defend individual rights vs. labor union leaders’ desire for more power. Or to have to defend a contrary position. The Campaign 1. This education campaign attracts support from conservative/moderate Senate candidates by giving them the best “defining” lightning rod issue to run on that also polls so well. However, for it to be a major campaign issue it must be raised often and with impactful commercials/print ads that should not be run by the candidates. 2. Once it becomes a high profile “public” issue driven by more earned media teeing off our ad campaign ‐‐ then the pro‐ballot candidate can play off that awareness without sounding shrill. 3. Voters will not react favorably to a politician who is taking something important away from them, i.e., the freedom to determine if they will be forced to join a union to keep their job. 4. We also will be helped if our effort to raise the issue to a high level of public awareness and concern leads both candidates in a close Senate race to pledge to reject the measure if elected. Our goal would be to make a “yes” vote for a Democrat as radioactive as a “no” vote was for a Republican on Sarbanes‐Oxley. 5. While this outcome takes the issue off the table for campaign purposes, it improves our chances greatly in holding down the Senate “yes” vote below 60. This will in turn avoid the collateral damage of increased union political/financial power (which could become exceedingly troublesome in the 2009‐2010 elections and state ballot initiatives). Our goal is to defeat the legislation.
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