Washington, D.C. The National Retail Federation urged Congress Tuesday to reject the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that could take away workers’ right to a secret ballot in union organizing elections.
The NRF’s opposition of the bill comes on the heels of Citigroup’s announcement Tuesday morning to downgrade Wal-Mart Stores from buy to hold status. The financial institution made the decision based on the fact that the “card check” legislation could increase Wal-Mart’s labor costs. NRF, however, is more concerned with the elimination of secret ballots, a process it called “a cornerstone of American democracy.”
“Voters have a secret ballot when they go to the polls on Election Day, Congress has a secret ballot when lawmakers choose the leaders of the House and Senate, and we believe workers deserve a secret ballot when they choose whether to be represented by a union,” said Rob Green, VP government and political affairs, NRF.
If the bill passes, it will eliminate the decades-old requirement that union representation be decided in secret-ballot elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. Instead, the NLRB would be required to recognize a union if presented with signed authorization cards from a majority of workers. This also empowers union organizers -- not the federal government -- to oversee the process, effectively eliminating the employer from the election.
NRF argued that the EFCA would actually take “free choice” away from workers, and “it should be opposed by all members of Congress who support the democratic process both in politics and the workplace,” he said.