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Union Handout in the Coronavirus Stimulus Act

What does a company surrendering their First Amendment rights have to do with the health and economic safety of Americans? It doesn’t, yet the current version of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” which is floating around Washington, seems to require it.

Page 524 of the language currently being negotiated applies to loans to midsized businesses and reads:

“Any eligible borrower applying for a direct loan under this program shall make a good-faith certification that— ….

(X) that the recipient will remain neutral in any union organizing effort for the term of the loan.”

What does this mean? That businesses with between 500 and 10,000 employees who take a loan under the program would need to remain neutral when a union tries to organize them. In other words, they could not communicate with their employees about unionization.

Further while the language is unclear on exactly what “remain neutral” means, most neutrality agreements contain card check provisions which takes away an employee’s right to a secret ballot unionization election.

Instead of having a regular election where employees can vote in private, card check elections allow unions to organize via a petition process where if a majority of employees sign cards, the union is automatically recognized and represents the employees.

Card check can lead to intimidation, deception and coercion of employees as I have written about in the study “Protecting the Secret Ballot; The Dangers of Union Card Check.”

At a minimum, however, a midsized business taking a loan through the CARES Act might mean employees only hear one side of the unionization debate. This limits workers’ ability to make informed decisions about who should represent them in the workplace. It even could mean that employers would have to effectively agree to a gag order after weathering the current crisis.

This section of the CARES Act has nothing to do with the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and is simply a handout to unions. Instead of supporting pet projects, Congress should focus on the health and economic safety of the country, particularly when passing a massive stimulus bill aimed at helping the country though the pandemic.

Please note that negotiations on the CARES Act are still on going on the language may change at any time.

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