The most problematic aspect of card check certification is that it requires employees to decide on unionization out in the open, where they can easily be deceived, intimidated and coerced. With a secret ballot, on the other hand, employees are afforded the space to contemplate their decision on their own terms and then make a personal choice in the privacy of a voting booth.
This is not to imply that all unions make use of deception, intimidation and coercion when going through the process of collecting signatures. But this is a reality for many employees. What’s more is that some problematic tactics used are considered violations of law and deemed unfair labor practices, but many are permissible under current practice and law.[*]
In the seminal NLRB case, Excelsior Underwear, Inc., the Board stressed the need for employees to be fully informed and not intimidated, stating: “[W]e regard it as the Board’s function to conduct elections in which employees have the opportunity to cast their ballots for or against representation under circumstances that are free not only from interference, restraint, or coercion … but also from other elements that prevent or impede a free and reasoned choice.
Examples of union deception and intimidation are well documented.[†] Described below are different types of questionable tactics used by unions in card-check organizing campaigns. Real world examples come from recent NLRB cases, congressional testimony and news reports. The cumulative lesson is that employees need to be protected from these kinds of tactics, and the best protection is a secret ballot election.
[*] Unfair labor practices are defined in 29 U.S.C. § 158.
[†] For a list of over 100 NLRB cases involving union deception or coercion in obtaining authorization card signatures, see Daniel V. Yager, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Committee on Education and Workforce, July 23, 2002, Appendix, p. 1-4.