“Card check” is a form of union organizing that deprives employees of a secret ballot election when deciding whether or not to authorize a union to represent them in a certification election. With card check, unions just need to obtain signatures from a majority of employees in a company to become the exclusive bargaining representative for all workers. Foregoing the protection that a secret ballot provides — the type that voters enjoy when electing their political representatives — card check makes it easier for unions to use coercion, intimidation and deception to bully their way into a workplace.
Unions, through their political allies, have tried several times for over a decade to essentially mandate card check elections. A recent attempt was in 2009 with the ironically named Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA failed, however, in spite of the fact that the political stars appeared aligned with union interests: Democrats, who receive the overwhelming majority of union support, controlled the U.S. House, Senate and White House.
Even though the EFCA failed, unions have continued to push for card check and the latest attempt was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 2, 2019, and called the “Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019,” or PRO Act. The PRO Act is a way to get a version of card check into federal law that would impact private employers and employees in all 50 states.[*]
[*] The federal law referred to here is the National Labor Relations Act. It does not apply to government employees — federal, state or local. It also does not apply to workers in the railroad or airline industries, who are governed by the Railway Labor Act. As a result, this paper and the PRO Act only apply to private sector workers governed by the NLRA and other federal laws. “Jurisdictional Standards” (National Labor Relations Board), https://perma.cc/Z5P2-SB7X.