With the election cycle heating up, the supporters of the once defeated HR800 (card check) Bill are building up steam to push this legislation forward with a renewed vigor. The AFL/CIO has never stopped building their grassroots support and has been recruiting volunteers on a national level. Recently John Sweeney took over 3,000 of these supporters to Washington D.C. to shore up their support and to demonstrate to the politicians that they are being watched and will be held accountable if they chose not to support the passage of this bill.
AFL/CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumpka, in a speech in Pittsburgh, PA, said that the "passage of this bill would increase union membership to over 60 million members".
While management groups took comfort in the defeat of this bill in 2007, the Unions hailed the support that they received as a major victory and have dedicated many resources to continue the fight.
The unions are so confident of the future passage of this bill that it has prompted Jimmy Hoffa Jr. to make the statement to the board of directors of the Change To Win Coalition that the unions should not wait for the passage to organize new members into the rank and file.
Every Democratic candidate for President said that they would not only sign this bill but they strongly urge Congress to prioritize the passage of the bill.
Once again here are the most important aspects of this bill.
- It eliminates the employers‚ and employees‚ right to demand a secret ballot election to determine whether employees desire to be unionized, and instead requires an employer to recognize and bargain with a union based solely on the presentation of authorization cards signed by majority of the employees.
- It requires that an arbitrator impose a contract ˆ including wages and benefits on the employer if the employer and a new union have not reached a contract after 90 days of bargaining and 30 days of mediation for a first contract following certification of the union as the bargaining representative
- It mandates that the National Labor Relations Board seek a federal court injunction against an employer if there is reasonable cause to believe that the employer has discharged or discriminated against an employee because of his or her union activity
- It mandates payment of three times the amount of lost wages to employees discharged for union activity and provides for a penalty of $20,000 for each willful or repeated violation.
The stakes in this dispute are huge. Big labor sees the legislation as a way to help stem the calamitous decline in nationwide union membership, which has dropped below 8 percent in the private sector. Their solution is not to recognize and adapt to the changing needs of modern workers, but rather to rig the process, exposing individual employees to intense one-on-one persuasion, coercion and intimidation, depriving them of the traditional safety of the secret ballot to vote their conscience.
At a press conference in Washington D.C. held on January of 2008, AFL/CIO President John Sweeney says that „the passage of this bill is the most important goal of the union movement today and no resource will be spared fighting for it.