Sen. Murray Needs Reality Check On Card Check

Katie Packer
August 7, 2010

With Washington’s unemployment rate hovering near 9%, workers and small businesses in the state need advocates in Congress who will stand with them as opposed to special interests promoting a job-killing agenda. But unfortunately, just the opposite is true in The Evergreen State. Senator Patty Murray has decided the union boss agenda supplants the concerns of employees and employers in her state.

Murray supports radical legislation titled the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) even though there is nothing free about it. In reality, the bill should be called the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act. EFCA eliminates the secret ballot in the unionization process by forcing a public vote, known as card check. As a result, workers focused on making a living and feeding their families are placed under enormous pressure by union bosses and organizers and even bullied into supporting a union, whether they want one or not.

Secondly, once a union is formed through intimidation and coercion, union bosses can then bargain for the collective unit and unless a small business cedes to their demands in just 90 days, the federal government inserts itself and mandates a contract on the employees and employer alike without their consent. There is no appeals process. If a small business can not live with the terms of the bureaucrat-written contract, which affects everything from wages, benefits and workplace conditions, it can be forced to close or move overseas.

In fact, economists that have studied the impact of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act have come to the conclusion that it would result in over 600,000 lost jobs the year after it is enacted with millions more to follow. So, this leads one to ask, who benefits from this dangerous and ill-conceived legislation? There is only one answer, Big Labor.

The same union bosses who bankroll candidates’ campaigns – like Senator Murray – are expecting “payback.” And that’s not an assumption, they have said as much, explicitly.

In fact, Murray hasn’t just been a supporter of EFCA; she had led the effort to make the job-killing bill the law of the land. In 2007, she stated she was proud to be a co-sponsor claiming that it restored workers’ “freedom to choose” when it comes to unionization. And just last month, Murray claimed that an increase in access to organized labor is “critical” to rebuilding the middle class.

Unfortunately, it appears Murray is either confused or completely out of touch with the small businesses she represents. Employers across the state of Washington oppose EFCA because they understand the burdens and costs associated with it would produce higher unemployment.

The Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act is a job-killer, plain and simple. If Senator Murray can’t take the word of the state’s [j]op creators – small businesses – than one might argue she shouldn’t be in a position to make decisions on their behalf in the United States Senate.

The reality is that a bi-partisan group of Senators oppose EFCA and understand it would further threaten any recovery in a very challenging economic environment.

As this election cycle progresses, Murray should be posed questions about her support for Big Labor’s top priority and why she believes it would help create jobs in spite of being told otherwise by employers in Washington State.

If she proves unable to give an explanation that is both serious and rational, voters who would be negatively affected by her injudicious actions might consider taking their business elsewhere this November by supporting a candidate who stands with them as opposed to national union bosses.

Katie Packer is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness institute.

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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

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By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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