From The Wall Street Journal (8/29/08):
White House Prepares Order On Union Organizing
By KRIS MAHER
The Bush administration is weighing an executive order that would eliminate a union-preferred method of labor organizing at large government contractors, according to people familiar with the situation.
Labor leaders prefer a card-check system in which workers can form a union if a majority of them sign a union-authorization card. Companies generally prefer a secret-ballot election.
The issue has become a factor in some Senate races and the presidential campaign. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, supports legislation favoring the card-check approach. Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, opposes such legislation.
The executive order would require large government contractors to use secret-ballot elections for union organizing or risk losing government contracts, say people familiar with the order. Though companies typically prefer secret ballots, some are willing to accept card checks to avoid a fight.
It isn't clear if the order would apply to a company's entire operations or only those operations serving the government. According to a person familiar with a draft of the order, it would exclude companies with small government contracts.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto declined to comment on the matter. It is possible President George W. Bush would choose not to sign the order being prepared by lower-ranking officials, people familiar with the matter said.
Union leaders believe the order, if issued, could derail some current organizing drives. Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said his union is negotiating a card-check agreement with a large defense contractor and the order "could very well affect us." The union represents 75,000 engineers and technical workers at Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Electric Co., among other companies.
Rick Berman runs the Washington-based Center for Union Facts, which opposes card-check campaigns. He said he was aware of the order and called it "long overdue." He said the order shows "the government is not going to promote the hijacking of democracy through their government-contracting process."
Labor officials who have heard of the plans criticized the idea. "This is politics at its worst," said Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO's director of government affairs. He called the order a gift to the business community "from the most antiunion administration that we've seen."
For more information about Rick Berman and his Center For Union Facts, check out my article at Union Review from 9/7/07, entitled "Center For Union Facts ? Anti-Union Lobby At It's Worst ", and the Anti-Union network at American Rights At Work.