LANSING, Mich., March 4, 2009 — The state’s leading small business association, the National Federation of Independent Business, today slammed a state House resolution supporting the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly referred to as card check.
Testifying before the state House Labor committee, NFIB/Michigan assistant state director Amanda Radaz warned lawmakers that card check would be a nightmare for the state’s already struggling small business community.
“In this increasingly difficult financial climate, the last thing we need is legislation that will make life even tougher for small business owners, the backbone of the American economy,” said Radaz. “Small employers—who have never marched on Washington for a handout—should not be sacrificed so that unions can have their political spoils.”
Card check is designed to make it easier for unions to organize a workplace by taking away secret ballots and instead putting private pressure on employees to sign union authorization cards. Under card check, once a majority of employees sign cards, the workplace would be organized. Once a workplace was unionized, employers would have 120 days to sign a contract with the union. If they can’t agree on terms, a federal administrator would step in and dictate wages and benefits.
“That doesn’t sound like the Employee Free Choice Act. It sounds like the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act,” said Radaz. “Secret ballots are important because they ensure that people can vote their conscience without undue influence from union organizers, employers, colleagues and friends.”
Jim Swain, owner of Courtesy Car and Truck in Tekonsha, Mich., told committee members he was worried that this was an attempt by labor leaders who have seen their numbers dwindle in recent decades to force unionization onto smaller employers—who employ more than half of the state’s workforce.
“With our economy in the midst of what could be the worst recession in my lifetime, I am very concerned about the impact this legislation would have on small employers like me,” said Swain. “I’ve never asked Congress for a nickel, and all I am asking them to do now is leave my business and my employees alone.”
Swain told the committee he was concerned about the impact binding arbitration would have on his relationship with his employees.
“I worry about making payroll before ever giving myself a paycheck,” said Swain, “I don’t need a government bureaucrat dictating to me the benefits, pay and perks I provide my employees.”
Radaz said with so much recent attention on the auto industry—and the effect unionization has had on the ability of domestic manufacturers to compete in a global economy—small business owners are rightfully concerned about the impact unionizing campaigns could have on their businesses and communities.
“Under card check, a small repair shop on Main Street is as vulnerable as a large manufacturing plant,” said Radaz. “Men and women struggling to make payroll, provide insurance for their workers, put gas in their fleet, or advertise their goods and services will become union targets.”
Radaz said Congress and the state Legislature should focus on ways to help workers and small business owners survive in this economy.
“We need plans that encourage small businesses to grow and create jobs, not political paybacks that prop up labor leaders by stripping the rights of workers and shoving unionization down the throat of small businesses.”
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsrooom.