Business Leaders Blast Labor Provisions in America COMPETES Act Passed Today in the House

Business leaders say union lobbyists snuck provisions stripping away workers’ right to secret ballots in union elections into House version of America COMPETES Act

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of nearly 500 major business organizations, released the following statement today in response to a last-minute amendment snuck into the House version of the America COMPETES Act. The amendment includes two labor provisions that threaten workers and businesses.

The first is a provision that would require employers receiving certain funds authorized by the bill to bargain with a union based on signed authorization cards. The process—known as “card check”—involves workers “voting” by signing or refusing to sign union authorization cards in front of union organizers and co-workers. This card check process would replace secret ballot elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. This change unnecessarily invites intimidation and fraud to employees’ decisions to join or refrain from joining a union.

The bill also includes a provision that requires employers receiving certain funds to agree to be bound by collective bargaining terms set by an arbitrator if the union and the employer cannot come to agreement on their own. Under the provision, arbitrators, who likely lack business experience, would determine what a business can or cannot afford.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“’Card check’ is anti-worker and anti-American. Congress has no legitimate justification for forcing workers to sign union authorization cards in the presence of their coworkers and union organizers, opening them up to harassment and intimidation from union organizers and eliminating the right to privacy normally provided by secret ballot elections.

“Having an arbitrator set terms of collective bargaining agreements between a union and private sector employer will lead to job loss, bankruptcy, and government bailouts. It also incentivizes unions to propose outrageous terms in hopes the arbitrator will have their back.

“The U.S. Senate should reject these radical anti-worker, privacy-evading and anti-business provisions to protect both workers and employers, especially small business owners, from harassment and intimidation from unions and their cohorts on the NLRB.”



About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.