Today Big Labor’s allies in the House and Senate will introduce legislation with the Orwellian title “The Employee Free Choice Act.” Contrary to the bill’s title, the legislation will strip employees of their choice in joining union, and it will lead to a lot less employees throughout the economy. President Barack Obama is strongly committed to the legislation however, telling the Washington Post earlier this year: “You know, now if the business community’s argument against the Employee Free Choice Act is simply that it will make it easier for people to join unions and we think that is damaging to the economy then they probably won’t get too far with me.” However, its more than just the business community that believes the EFCA will do serious damage to our nation’s economy.

Card Check Kills Choice: EFCA is more commonly known as card check due to the way the legislation fundamentally changes the basic rules of union organizing. Under card check, once union organizers submit cards with signatures from 50% plus one of the employees, the National Labor Relations Board must certify the union without an election. Big Labor claims this method gives workers a choice in how to organize between publicly signed cards or secret ballot elections. That is a lie. Nothing in the legislation gives workers any control over what organizing methods are used. Union organizers get to choose whether to pursue an open and honest election or a stealth and intimidation card check plan. The actual workers would have no choice and 49% of them could walk in to work one day and find they had been forced to join a union without ever having an opportunity to object. This is why big name liberals committed to real democratic values, like 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern and Obama supporter Warren Buffet, oppose card check.

Card Check Kills Jobs: Unions exist to secure higher wages for their members. They accomplish this feat by using the government’s coercive power to restrict the pool of people an employer can hire to just their members. By artificially creating labor scarcity, they drive up wages for union members. In this sense, unions operate as monopoly cartels in exactly the same way that OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela do to drive up the price of oil. Just as economic theory predicts that less oil will be consumed when oil cartels raise prices, economic theory also predicts that fewer people will be employed when more unions form. And economic studies firmly back up economic theory on this point. Study after study consistently shows that greater unionization leads to fewer jobs. Conservative estimates of card check’s employment effects show the legislation would eliminate 765,000 jobs over the next seven years. A more recent study pegged card check’s job killing total at 1.2 million jobs over two years.

Card Check Kills Innovation: The economic damage from unionization is not felt in short term employment loss alone. There is also the innovation killing work rules embodied in the thousand page contracts between union bosses and employers. Card check only makes this situation worse by adding government bureaucrats to the workplace. Section 3 of EFCA allows unions to demand government imposed arbitration after just 90 days of collective bargaining impasse. The government bureaucrat arbitrator would then be empowered to dictate: wages and bonuses; employment levels; retirement and health care plans; changes in business operations; promotion procedures; work assignments; subcontracting policies; and closing, sale, or merger of business. Card check would empower government bureaucrats, who have no practical experience in the company, its operations, or its business strategy, to dictate how a company was run. And unlike employees and employers, these arbitrators would not be affected by the consequences of their decisions.

Trying to smooth over the strong opposition to card check, President Obama said: “If their arguments are we think there are more elegant ways of doing this or here are some modifications or tweaks to the general concept that we would like to see.” There is no tweaking this concept. There is nothing elegant about Big Labor’s destruction of our economy. Our nation simply can not afford card check and workers don’t deserve it.

Quick Hits: