Advertisement
Politics

Is Card Check Still Dead? Maybe Not

On the very day that Pennsylvania Sen.

On the very day that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter became a Democrat, he told reporters that the change in party wouldn't change his opposition to legislation making it easier for unions to organize. But, in fact, his switch may be exactly what the unions and their supporters need to break the deadlock over the issue.

Advertisement - Article continues below

That doesn't mean labor will get what it wants -- a bill allowing them to organize without a secret ballot election if a majority of workers sign cards supporting a union. That proposal is, for all practical purposes, dead in this Congress. But a more modest version of what labor seeks is actually more likely because of Specter's switch.

Simply put, Specter can't win reelection in Pennsylvania without the money and active support of organized labor.  That's why Specter is usually careful to say he won't support the card check bill "as written," clearly leaving open the door to a compromise. President Obama is also open to a compromise, and though the unions have so far resisted that, they're beginning to realize it may be their only hope.

Employers are winning the public relations campaign against the bill by arguing that a secret ballot election is the foundation of democracy. Unions don't object to an election per se, but they do object to the current system, which can delay an election for months. They argue -- and insist the record proves -- that the delay gives the company time to unfairly pressure employees and even to fire union organizers. The companies, in turn, say relying solely on cards allows the union to exert unfair peer pressure on workers.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Employers also object to a provision in the existing proposal that would require binding arbitration if a newly recognized union and a company don't reach an agreement in a set period of time. Labor complains that companies often drag their feet and never reach a first contract with new unions.

A compromise would likely include secret elections, but would significantly speed up the process and include stronger safeguards to prevent coercion by either side. It would also lengthen the time for contract negotiations before binding arbitration is required.

The compromise is no sure thing, especially with both labor and business still refusing to settle. Getting 60 votes in the Senate will be tough no matter what the plan is. But Specter's defection will help, not hinder the process.

Advertisement

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2020 tax year...and it's never too early to start thinking about next year's return.
June 22, 2020
10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class
tax deductions

10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class

Tax breaks aren't just for the rich. There are plenty of them that are only available to middle- and low-income Americans.
June 30, 2020

Recommended

Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus
Travel

Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

Insurance may not cover canceled vacations, but airlines and hotels may be flexible.
June 11, 2020
13 Things That May Soon Disappear Forever (The Pandemic Edition)
business

13 Things That May Soon Disappear Forever (The Pandemic Edition)

Emerging technologies (and now the COVID-19 pandemic) are putting an end to these familiar items and practices.
June 9, 2020
Don't Let the Drama Surrounding PPP Distract You from Running Your Business
business

Don't Let the Drama Surrounding PPP Distract You from Running Your Business

If you're so wrapped up in worry about your Paycheck Protection Program loan not being forgiven, think about the worst-case scenario. It might not be …
June 5, 2020
Another Epidemic to Worry About: Identity Theft
business

Another Epidemic to Worry About: Identity Theft

Fraud losses grew in 2019 and are likely to increase in 2020.
June 5, 2020