During a Sunday evening conference call with a group of Iowans, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warned voters that President Obama wants to force everyone into organized unions. Twice during the 30 minute phone call, Romney raised the spectre of President Obama and Democrats reintroducing the Employee Free Choice Act, which was last introduced in 2009.
EFCA would have introduced “card check” votes in the workplace, making it easier for employees to decide whether or not to unionize. If 50 percent of workers sign a statement of support of organizing, that union would be granted bargaining power with the employer. The bill would strip employers of their ability to force their workers into a full union organizing election if they don’t like the results of a signature campaign.
As it stands, employers can legally force their workers to attend anti-union meetings and one-on-one “discussions” with their superiors ahead of any vote on unionization, an intimidation tactic that succeeds in derailing many unionization efforts. Stricter penalties for failure to negotiate a contract with a new union and for discriminating against any worker who supports a union would have also been included.
Even though EFCA never made it past the House in 2009, that didn’t stop Romney from ringing the alarm:
Romney brought up card check twice, unprompted, when answering Iowans’ questions about other topics. Early in the call, Romney mentioned it when describing his five-point plan for creating jobs.
“We’ve got to champion small business,” he said. “Small business is getting crushed under the president’s program with higher and higher regulation on small business, with higher taxes on small business, and by forcing people to join unions that don’t want to. That’s something known as card check. I think that’s a bad idea.”
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