Critics say NLRB pursuing card check outside legislative process

Business groups have described the issue as unions vs. the Girl Scouts. Brett McMahon of Halt the Assault and a small business owner commented, “If this new request by union leaders is allowed to become law, its effect will be for many business operators like myself to have no choice but to close doors to any outside groups. … Sorry, Girl Scouts. Sorry, Boy Scouts. Sorry, Red Cross. And the local soup kitchen.”

Finally, last June, the NLRB asked vendors to submit proposals on how they would conduct electronic remote voting (E-voting.) The NLRB’s request highlighted the need for a “proven solution that supports mail, telephone, web-based and/or on-site electronic voting; that includes the necessary safeguards to ensure the accuracy, secrecy, observability, transparency, integrity, accountability, and auditability of Agency-conducted elections.”

Opponents denounced the idea as card check by other means. National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix warned, “[M]uch like card check organizing, electronic voting leaves the door open to coercion and identity theft, and will be used by aggressive union organizers to impose forced unionism on more workers.”

The American Hospital Association wrote a letter to the NLRB cautioning,“expanding the use of off-site elections – which could be conducted in employees’ homes or in union halls – dramatically increases the risk of union coercion of employees.” Some argue it would be relatively easy for a union organizer with a laptop or some other mobile electronic device to look over an individual’s shoulder to pressure him to vote for union representation.

The NLRB is also considering expedited elections. Obama NLRB appointee Mark Pearce told students at the Suffolk University Law School that the board should make the time getting to an election “as brief as possible.” Specifically, Pearce cited the system used in Canada where employees could vote in only five to ten days.

Critics call the shortened period ambush elections, since the majority of the time union organizers have months to convince workers to vote their way while employers are only told of the election when the union files the request for it with the NLRB.