U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Repeats Myths About The Employee Free Choice Act

May 27, 2009 5:24 pm ET

In a new ad, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce falsely claims that the Employee Free Choice Act would "strip away the secret ballot." It goes on to state: "Congress needs to fix the economy, not worry about trying to bail out the big unions."

The Employee Free Choice Act Does Not Eliminate The Secret-Ballot Option

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "Congress wants to strip away the secret ballot...." [Chamber Ad, accessed 5/27/09]

The myth that the Employee Free Choice Act eliminates the secret ballot has been repeatedly debunked...

CSM: "The Proposed Law Gives Workers A Choice Of Forming A Union Through Majority Sign-Up ('Card Check') Or An Election By Secret Ballot." In an article on the Employee Free Choice Act, the Christian Science Monitor wrote: "The proposed law gives workers a choice of forming a union through majority sign-up ('card check') or an election by secret ballot. The current election process, governed by the National Labor Relations Board, strongly favors employers, unions say.  The bill also beefs up penalties for employers that discriminate against workers for their union-organizing activity, including treble back pay for workers found to have been illegally fired." [Christian Science Monitor, 3/11/09]

PolitiFact: Employees "Could Ask for a Secret-Ballot Election." According to PolitiFact.com: "Just like before, if unions got more than 30 percent of the employees to sign cards, they could ask for a secret-ballot election." Additionally, the site wrote: "As a practical matter, secret-ballot elections would be far less frequent if the Employee Free Choice Act were passed. But they would still take place under certain circumstances..." [PolitiFact.com, 3/24/09]

NYT: "Business Groups Have Attacked The Legislation Because It Would Take Away Employers' Right To Insist On Holding A Secret-Ballot Election." As reported by the New York Times: "The bill would give workers the right to join a union as soon as a majority of employees at a workplace signed cards saying they wanted one. Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization." [New York Times, 11/8/08, emphasis added]

The Employee Free Choice Act Is Good For The Economy

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "We can't let Congress do this to our economy...Congress needs to fix our economy, not worry about trying to bail out the big unions." [Chamber Ad, accessed 5/27/09]

The Employee Free Choice Act WOULD help fix the economy...

Higher Wages Create Consumer Activity.  The Center for American Progress Action Fund notes: "One of the primary reasons why our current recession endures is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to drive our economy. Even when times were relatively good, workers were getting squeezed. Income for the median working age household fell by about $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, and it could fall even further as the economy continues to decline. Consumer activity accounts for roughly 70 percent of our nation's economy, and for a while workers were able to use debt to sustain their consumption. Yet debt-driven consumption is not sustainable, as we are plainly seeing. What is sustainable is an economy where workers are adequately rewarded and have the income they need to purchase goods." [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2/18/09; emphasis added]

A Unionized Workforce Leads To Greater Productivity.  According to the Economic Policy Institute: "The dramatic drop in unionization in the United States from 1979 to 2005 did not lead to faster productivity growth than in the seven largest European countries with union density greater than 60%.  In fact, those countries' average annual labor productivity growth of 1.7% equaled productivity growth in the United States.  Output per hour worked is higher in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium, where more than 80% of employees have union contracts (compared to the United States' 12% unionization)." [Economic Policy Institute, 6/20/07]