Uninvited guests called on the Chamber this morning – both outside and inside the building. Why? Desperation to preserve union viability through passage of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
A handful of picketers came together on a downtown street corner for a short time, while the Chamber was conducting its EFCA seminar (for members and customers) in its conference center. The protesters were Central Indiana representatives of Jobs With Justice, a national effort focused on workers’ rights. The piece of paper they were distributing to passers-by claimed that EFCA will not eliminate so-called “secret ballot” elections and that it would “increase penalties for companies who instill fear in employees by harassing and intimidating them against the union.” Those two points are so laughable that they are not even worth addressing, but the picketers did have the right to express their opinions.
Inside the Chamber office, two members of the local AFL-CIO maneuvered their way into a portion of the actual seminar before they were asked to leave. They had not registered or paid the fee to attend. They were not eligible to participate – that has been clearly communicated this time and through many years of offering union-related programs. They did not have the right to “invade” an educational conference.
The seminar informed representatives of Indiana companies about EFCA and steps they should take if they did not:
- want to be victim to a “card check” organizing campaign without any prior notice;
- want their workers to be subject to coercion through card check instead of maintaining the fundamental right to a secret ballot; and
- want to have independent government arbitrators decide how their business operates (if a union is put in place and no agreement is reached within a short time frame on an initial contract).
EFCA is bad for employers and employees. The only beneficiaries are union leaders.
Why has private sector employee involvement in unions declined to less than 8% nationwide? Because employers have provided open and effective communication, listened to their employees and created an atmosphere of trust. When those factors are not in place, employees may pursue union representation. The rules are in place for that to happen. Trying to artificially boost union numbers by taking away worker rights and the ability of employers and employees to negotiate contracts would be a disastrous move in the wrong direction.
The Indiana Chamber will host another EFCA seminar with Barnes & Thornburg in late August, featuring the most recent information. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to be added to the list to receive future information about this program.