Sometimes I wish that for one day I could be a lobbyist for the "other" side. Just to have the freedom to say whatever I wanted to say, skew facts and figures so badly that their meaning offers not even a hint of reality, and, of course, simply manufacture statistics.
This editorial from Sunday's Washington Post on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is an interesting look at both sides of the debate. There are a slew of folks here - labor, business, policy wonks and elected officials - offering their insight into the bill that would revoke an employee's right to a secret ballot election in union organization efforts and impose binding arbitration on employers once a union is formed.
Right off the bat, the AFL-CIO gets into it: "Seventy-three percent of the public supports" what they're calling "labor law reform." In my role here I work in a lot of circles, and I've been doing straw polling on this issue (because sometimes I have a hard time talking about anything else but EFCA, IDAs and the Yankees... Want to hang out?!). I assure you that FAR from 73% of the people I've asked about this topic are in support of taking secret ballot away from anything. In fact, the only people I've spoken with who HAVE been in favor of it have been colleagues and friends of mine who have something to do with union leadership - either on the labor side or the elected official side. Now, I'm sure there's some poll somewhere where they got to that 73% number, but given the response I'm getting in a pro-union town in a very Democratic state, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's a little ridiculous.
Bottom line is that the proponents of EFCA still believe it can become reality, despite a number of Senators announcing their opposition to the bill in the past couple weeks. Which means that the employer community needs to continue to weigh in on it. The battle remains in the Senate. While the U.S. Chamber has targeted specific senators in states far from New York, and it's not likely that we'll be changing the minds of our representatives, we need to continue to get the message to them that job creators in the Buffalo Niagara region are opposed to this "game-changing legislation."
Stay tuned this week - we'll be asking you to get involved and give you some tools to do so. Until then, if you're a Facebook user you can join the Virtual March on Washington to protect the secret ballot.