'Card Check' Legislation Will Cause 'Chaos' For Union Construction Works, Says AGC
The proposed “Card Check” legislation currently being debated in Washington could pose real risks for the nation’s union construction workers according to a new study released by the Associated General Contractors. The analysis singled out provisions in the bill (known as the Employee Free Choice Act) requiring federal arbitrators to settle all but the briefest of contract negotiations as particularly problematic.
“Having Washington-appointed officials set final contract terms for individual companies would make it harder to maintain a central benefit of unionized construction, collective bargaining,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the AGC. Sandherr went on to state that Card Check undermines the common practice of having multiple construction firms agree to regional labor agreements, known as collective bargaining, which is designed to set a level playing field between different firms.
The study also concludes that, since Card Check requires federally-appointed arbitrators to set labor contracts for any time a firm can’t reach one within only 120 days, regions would see multiple, and widely varied contracts based on the whims and decisions of the arbitrators.
Sandherr added that the legislation also would put the pensions of single craft unions at risk, because Card Check will “make it easier for large multi-craft unions to recruit across a variety of skill sets.” The resulting loss in pension contributions at the now depleted ranks of the single-craft unions will undermine savings programs for countless hard-working, highly skilled professionals, Sandherrr noted.
The legislation could also hurt non-union construction workers; it deprives non-union workers their right to a private vote before deciding whether to join a union. In addition, the bill deprives non-union construction workers of the ability to negotiate pay levels, work rules and schedules “because Washington-appointed officials will do that instead under the legislation,” Sandherr said.
AGC’s 33,000-member companies are asking for Senatorial help to vote against the law and against any efforts to limit debate in the Senate on the legislation, known as a cloture vote.
For more information, visit www.agc.org.
Source: the Associated General Contractors of America