Pass Employee Free Choice Act

Forcing employers to recognize a legitimate petition to unionize is important and the bill should be passed.

A bill that would ease the process of creating unions is putting companies and unions at odds but is a positive step to help employees unionize to protect their jobs in this tumultuous economy. Successful unionization is not necessarily excessive unionization. In tough economic times, unions could be the answer to keep people employed. The bill should not promote inappropriate unionization but should be supported by politicians as it promotes a choice for workers. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa introduced the Employee Free Choice Act to the Senate, which may pass the bill with a Democratic majority but could be in danger of a filibuster. Harkin said the bill would help rebuild the country’s middle class by taking the power from the hands of companies. Under the current system, employees who want to create a union can demand a secret ballot election. Employers can also ignore an employee petition for a union, even if 100 percent of the employees support unionization. The new bill forces the employer to recognize a newly formed union if the majority of employees sign a card saying they want a union. The bill offers the choice for workers to use the card system to create a union quickly, or to use a secret ballot that maintains anonymity. Both openness and protection for workers are important and the bill allows a choice between the two. Transparency will help the process. Forcing employers to recognize a legitimate petition to unionize is important and the bill should be passed. The danger of the new card system is the elimination of anonymity. In a push for unions, organizers may endanger workers by exposing them to their employers. A more open system promotes accountability but also eliminates the safeguards in place under the secret ballot system, leaving workers open to retribution by employers. There are pros and cons to both systems. But the bill does not force union leaders to use one system over the other. It simply offers the option for workers to use the system they feels suits their situation best. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Daily Collegian at Penn State University. Please send comments to [email protected]