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High Tech Working Group Announces Opposition to 'Card Check' Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


Today Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Republican High Technology Working Group (HTWG), Lamar Smith, Vice Chairman of the HTWG and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, a member of the HTWG and the Ranking Member of the Education and Labor Committee, announced their opposition to the ‘Employee Free Choice Act', legislation which strikes a huge blow to the privacy rights of workers throughout the country. This legislation would effectively eliminate secret ballots in workplace organizing elections.

"Secret ballots are a hallmark of a free and democratic society and are strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of our citizens including union members," said Rep. Goodlatte. "I along with the members of the High Tech Working Group remain committed to working to protect this most basic of freedoms for all American workers."

Under current law, employees can petition or sign union authorization cards, commonly referred to as "card checks", requesting union representation. If at least 30 percent of employees have signed the petition or cards, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) conducts a private-ballot election to determine if union representation is desired by the majority of the employees. The Employee Free Choice Act would give the NLRB the authority to forgo the secret ballot election when a majority of the bargaining unit employees have signed authorizations designating the union and there is no other union currently recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees. These card checks are not private and can be made known to unions, employers, or others. When choosing whether or not to join a union, employees must have the right to cast a private ballot. They should not face fear of intimidation by union bosses and organizers or by employers.

Goodlatte continued, "American tech companies already face significant, artificial hurdles to competing in the global marketplace, including excessive government red tape and litigation abuses. The High Tech Working Group is dedicated to educating Members about and reducing these hurdles. Unfortunately, the Card Check legislation goes in the complete opposite direction and creates yet another hurdle that will stifle innovation in, and the competitiveness of, the U.S. tech industry."

In a recent nationwide survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, 86 percent of individuals surveyed believe that when deciding whether to organize a union a worker's vote should remain private with only 8 percent believing that vote should be public information.

"A secret ballot protects voters from being intimidated or bullied and ensures political freedoms that are the foundation of democracy," said Rep. Lamar Smith. "That the deceptively-named ‘Employee Free Choice Act' would seek to deny American workers this basic right, especially at a time of economic turmoil, is unconscionable. It puts the agenda of special interests ahead of job creation and economic growth, which is why the High Tech Working Group and I stand in strong opposition to this misguided legislation."

"In these uncertain economic times, Congress should be focused on strategies that will spur innovation and job creation. Unfortunately, the card check ploy is a proven job-killer, potentially putting hundreds of thousands of American jobs at risk in just the first year after its enactment," said Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. "Rather than taking away workers' rights and further weakening an already struggling economy, Republicans are fighting on behalf of workers to create jobs, modernize job training, and ensure American competitiveness in the 21st century."

The impact of the ‘Employee Free Choice Act' will be devastating to small businesses, and to our economy. It will not create jobs and a recent study estimates that more than 600,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the legislation.

The Consumer Electronics Association stated, "This bill would eliminate workers' basic American right to a private ballot, and allow government bureaucrats to unilaterally set working conditions for private firms. It would harm innovation and deny technology companies the flexibility they need to compete in world markets. Almost every small and large company CEO is violently opposed to this because they want to keep jobs in the US and they want to be competitive. Even Warren Buffett agrees that this is a bad idea. In this time of national economic challenge, it is hard to imagine a more destructive proposal."

Congressmen Goodlatte, Smith and McKeon are all original cosponsors of the ‘Secret Ballot Protection Act', which ensures that no one - not a union official or a management official - can take away a worker's right to a secret ballot.

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