By now, many people know that the so-called Employee Free Choice Act - also known as "Card Check" - would strip workers of the protection of a secret ballot vote in union organizing elections. This inherently undemocratic proposal would make it cheap and easy for unions to corral new members - and the union dues that come with them.
What most people don't realize is that the Card Check bill would also give the federal government the power to set wages, benefits and work rules for employers in a wide variety of industries throughout the economy.
Under this bill, once a union is formed, employers would be under a strict deadline to reach an agreement on all of the union's demands. If no agreement is reached after just 120 days, the matter would go to a federal arbitration panel, which would then write and hand down the union contract. That contract would bind both parties for two years with the same force as if it had been agreed to through full and fair negotiations.
For the first time a federal authority would set private sector wages, specific work rules and other work place restrictions, including forcing employees into underfunded and unsustainable pension plans.
This one provision would overturn more than seven decades of American labor law, all built on the principle that the government's proper role is to ensure fairness and protect workers - not to dictate outcomes.
The practical result of this radical change would be to incentivize unions to take extreme positions in collective bargaining and then stonewall, expecting the government arbitration panel to at least "split the difference" on their list of demands. Once the government steps in, the employer would lose all control of the workplace.
This would also create an opportunity for unions to force provisions into contracts that they could never get at the bargaining table, such as productivity-killing work rules, union approval of restructuring, and restrictions on the use of new technologies at the workplace.
In addition to employers losing in this scheme workers lose too. Under current law, workers often get the chance to vote on their contract - and they sometimes reject the deal. But...