On Tuesday, March 10, 2009, Democrats will begin the first step in their attempt to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. Senator Thomas Harkin (D. Iowa) will hold a day of hearings in the Senate on labor policy, all aimed at the passage of labor law reform. Senator Harkin introduced the legislation today in the Senate and Representative George Miller (D. Cal.) introduced the legislation in the House. The legislation will provide an alternative – and easier – method for unions to become the representatives of workers. If the legislation passes, a company would no longer have the right to force a union to prove its support by having a secret ballot election. Instead, after secret meetings and organizing, a union could obtain signatures from 50% plus one of the employees and the National Labor Relations Board will certify the union as the employees’ representative.
According to Alan M. Kaplan, a former prosecuting attorney and hearing officer at the National Labor Relations Board, one of the problems is that the employees will not have enough information about the union and unionization to make an informed decision. Although the unions and Democrats want to “level the playing field,” a real level playing field allows full debate and secret ballots. That is small-d democracy for the workplace.