Ohio Gov. Kasich suggests blocking public union-busting bill will lead to card check
In an effort to galvanize support for his signature piece of legislation, a public employee union-busting bill commonly known as Senate Bill 5, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told a group of northeast Ohio business people Wednesday that if that law is defeated in a referendum challenge this November, it could make it easier for employees of private businesses to organize unions at their respective workplaces.
“If this bill doesn’t pass, don’t be surprised if you see card check,” he was quoted by the Columbus Dispatch as saying, referring to the proposed union-organizing tactic that labor opponents falsely claim would strip workers of the secret ballot.
“That might be the next thing; you just don’t know,” he added.
Yet in suggesting that scenario, Kasich is comparing apples to oranges: Whether or not SB5 is defeated in Ohio, the process for unionizing private sector employees will not change –- unless those changes come from the federal level.
Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, to form a union at a private business, workers must gain the signatures of at least 30 percent of the company’s employees. Once that milestone is reached, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret ballot election that decides whether or not a union is formed at the company.
Alternatively, if employees can garner the signatures of 50 percent of the workforce, a business owner can simply choose to accept the union and bypass the secret ballot election. That, however, rarely happens. In fact, workers oftentimes face intense lobbying and intimidation ahead of the election.
Under card check, employees have more power: Once workers meet the 50 percent threshold with signatures, they could choose to bypass the election and automatically form a union. If they received the signatures of between 30 percent and 50 percent of the workforce, it would still automatically trigger a secret ballot election.
Card check has been included in the Employee Free Choice Act three times. Introduced on the federal level in 2005, 2007 and 2009, the Act has never garnered the votes necessary to pass both chambers of Congress. The closest it came was in 2007, when it fell nine votes short of the 60 necessary to invoke cloture and break a Republican filibuster.
“Workers like firefighters and police officers didn’t ask for this fight,” said Melissa Fazekas, a spokesperson for We Are Ohio, a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that has come together to repeal SB5. “Governor Kasich and the politicians who support his out of touch policies like Issue 2 should be concerned about their attempts to destroy the middle class.
“Governor Kasich should embrace hardworking middle class Ohioans rather than continuing to insult and attack them.”