Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Union tensions loom in Congress

September 22, 2008
If the Employee Free Choice Act sounds unfamiliar, you arenâ??t alone. The proposed legislation is getting little coverage this election cycle.

But the measure could emerge as a flashpoint in the next Congress as business and labor groups battle for power.

Business lobbies hate the act because it would eliminate employersâ?? ability to demand secret ballots during union organizing votes. The law in effect would allow organizers to see which employees vote against representation, swinging doors wide for coercion, detractors say.

Backers say the legislation is needed to bring fairness to the balance between companies and unions, whose muscle has been dwindling for decades.

A vote in the House in March 2007 went 241-185 in favor of the act, with Indianaâ??s delegation falling along party lines. The Senate ended debate on its bill without bringing it to a vote.

Barack Obama supports the legislation, while John McCain opposes it. Business groups fear it will pass if Obama wins and the Senate gains enough Democratic seats to end Republicansâ?? ability to stop it through filibuster.

Several questions:

What do you think about the balance of power between business and unions? Which side has the greatest power, and is the imbalance harmful?

What about the question of doing away with secret ballots? Thumbs up or down?

If the legislation were signed into law, how would it affect the odds of a union representing your company or work place?
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