MJSA Urges Jewelry Industry to Oppose Union Organizing Bill

The Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America is urging the jewelry industry to contact U.S. Senators to voice their opposition to a bill that is working its way through Congress.

Called the “Employee Free Choice Act of 2007,” the bill is intended to “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.”

The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 1 by a margin of 241-185 and was introduced to the Senate on the same day. MJSA said it expects the Senate to vote on the bill soon.

MJSA says the new bill would remove the private ballot system under federal supervision and replace it with a system that will allow others to see how employees voted.

MJSA writes: “Currently the method of determining whether or not employees want a union to represent them is a private ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB, an independent government agency, provides procedures that ensure a fair election where employees can cast their vote confidentially without coercion or peer pressure. The EFCA would take away an employee’s access to a federally supervised private ballot and replace the private ballot election with a ‘card check’ system. Under this system the employees’ signatures would be made public to the employer, the union organizers, and co-workers. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize the results of this ‘card check’ system in singling out employees who are in favor of or opposed to union representation and thus exposing them to coercion.

“This legislation would also impose contract terms on private, unionized employers through compulsory, binding arbitration. The process would result in government arbiters establishing binding wages and terms between the union members and employer for two years.”

MJSA is asking those in the jewelry industry to contact their senators and tell them that they oppose this legislation that will strip away employees’ access to private ballot elections when determining whether to join a union.”

MJSA has also drafted a letter for those in the jewelry industry to send to Senators. The letter reads as follows:

I strongly urge you to oppose the ‘Employee Free Choice Act,’ which recently passed the House of Representatives (H.R. 800). Under this proposed legislation, a union would be able to force an employer to recognize it based merely on a card-check system. More importantly, an employer like me could be forced to give away my employees’ access to a private ballot election.
 
During the card-check process, employees are asked to sign cards that indicate support of a union in front of union organizers, their fellow employees, and their employer. This is a process that invites coercion, intimidation, and potentially threats in the workplace. My employees deserve privacy and freedom from outside influence when deciding whether they want to join a union.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) already has strict procedures to ensure fair private ballot elections, free of employer or union coercion. These existing procedures are no threat to unions; they lead to swift and fair elections. Most elections are held within 56 days, and labor unions prevail 55 percent of the time.

This legislation would also impose contract terms on private, unionized employers through a process of compulsory, binding arbitration, with government arbiters establishing binding wages and terms between the two parties for two years. It would force me to submit to contract terms through compulsory arbitration. This is an unconstitutional infringement on my right as a private employer to freedom of contract.
 
I respectfully ask that you oppose this legislation. It not only interferes with the democratic process, but also forces private enterprise to agree to contract terms or face government intervention and, ultimately, wages and benefit terms that are established by the government.
 
Thank you for your consideration.
 
Sincerely,