Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Scholarly Article Demonstrates That There Is Little Undue Pressure In Card Check Campaigns

One of the major arguments against passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is that it will result in unions putting undue pressure on employees to sign cards. However, a major empirical study has just come out which demonstrates that under existing law unions have not engaged in such pressure campaigns. As a result, the public as little to fear from the Employee Free Choice Act.
The article is unfortunately not on the internet, but it is on Westlaw. Adrienne E. Eaton and Jill Kriesky, NLRB Elections Versus Card Check Campaigns: Results of A Worker Survey, 62 Indus. & Lab. Rel. Rev. 157 (Jan. 2009). The article's abstract provides:

The authors evaluate policy arguments for and against the use of card check as a method to determine union recognition. The results of an analysis of data from telephone surveys of 430 workers who had been through the NLRB election or card check campaigns of six unions in 2003 indicate that there was little undue union pressure to support unionization in card check campaigns, and that management pressure on workers to oppose unionization was considerably greater than pressure from co-workers or organizers to support the union in both card checks and elections. The authors also find that although workers in card checks do appear to have had somewhat less information about unions and about the recognition process than workers in elections, workers who felt they had insufficient information to make a decision about unionization tended not to sign cards.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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Without commenting on their methodology, the conclusion is akin to saying that because voting processes, in most if not all states other than Florida and Illinois, are seemingly "fair" that all should continue. The issue here is simple: secret ballot to record preference. What other aspects of the overall process are, in fact, objectionable, go fix them. If the federal taxpayer paid government employee, union member NLRB staff are slow or if there should be penalties, or whatever, go fix it. BUT, the argument that the act of voting by secret ballot is the Achilles heel to ALL objectionable aspects of labor law is analogous to the four year undergraduate degree in "science." Enough of this. To object to the act of voting in secret is truly repugnant. To build a true "house of cards" media campaign funding, directly and indirectly, the "scholars" reporting pro-EFCA conclusions is embarrassing. For economists and social-"scientists" to opine on quintessential law principles with out acknowledging or giving deference to legal scholars is ignorant.

Posted by: JR | Feb 27, 2009 8:55:36 AM

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