Card Check

Because it is very difficult for workers to form a union by going through the NRLB election process, the UAW and other unions now use an alternative technique known as “card-check recognition.” Under card check, the employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union if the union presents signed union authorization cards from a majority of workers. In most instances, the authorization cards are validated by an outside person, such as an arbitrator or religious leader.

from the UAW’s Labor Law

Here’s another reform that seems minor to most– except those who don’t want workers to have any power– but that might make a huge difference in shifting the balance of power away from corporations. It’s also an example of how large-scale changes in the world– the decline in unionization in the United States– can be dependent on very small factors.

Actually, it’s not one small factor that led to the decline of unions, but many small factors. Among the most important, though, you would have to include the myriad of ways that it became increasingly difficult and complex to vote for a union at your workplace. As usual with the right wing, this ongoing attack on the things ordinary people need and want– good wages, health care, freedom of speech– is couched in the usual Orwellian patriotism.

The idea, generally, is that the less organized we are the more powerful we become. War is peace, too. Card check laws try to turn that around in a small way. Keep an eye on the (unfortunately named) Employee Free Choice Act, which, if it passes, might be a sign that things are turning a bit away from the bosses.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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