business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports this morning that card-check legislation - which would have allowed unions to organize in workplaces by just getting a majority of employees to sign cards, rather than going through a secret ballot election if one is demanded by the employer – appears to be dead in the US Senate.

According to the story, six senators viewed as pro-labor have decided to drop the provision from the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), instead backing a bill that will require shorter unionization campaigns and quicker elections.

Labor had made passage of the card-check provision its central focus in the new Congress, and the business community had made its defeat a major priority as well.

According to the Times, “Though some details remain to be worked out, under the expected revisions, union elections would have to be held within five or 10 days after 30 percent of workers signed cards favoring having a union. Currently, the campaigns often run two months.

“To further address labor’s concerns that the election process is tilted in favor of employers, key senators are considering several measures. One would require employers to give union organizers access to company property. Another would bar employers from requiring workers to attend anti-union sessions that labor supporters deride as ‘captive audience meetings’.”

The Times notes that the business community is not entirely satisfied with the bill revisions since it still objects to some of the new elements in the bill.
KC's View:
Still, after months of lobbying and debating, the business community has to feel pretty good about the way events are unfolding. Card-check legislation has always been, in my view, a bad idea. So this is a positive step in what appears to be a moderating Congress when conservative Democrats are going to control the agenda to a degree.