What: All Issues : Labor Rights : General Union Rights : H.R. 800 (Employee Union Card Check), Republican amendment in the nature of a substitute that would prohibit the recognition of a union by the card check method and require that unions be recognized only after secret ballot elections/On agreeing to the amendment
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H.R. 800 (Employee Union Card Check), Republican amendment in the nature of a substitute that would prohibit the recognition of a union by the card check method and require that unions be recognized only after secret ballot elections/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 116     Mar 01, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on a substitute amendment to a bill aiming to make it easier for workers to join unions. Substitute amendments attempt to replace the text of a bill in its entirely with different language. It is a procedural tactic often used by the minority to put forth its own version of legislation.

The bill Republicans were seeking to change would require employers to recognize a new union through what's commonly known as a card-check procedure. Under current law, if a majority of workers within a given organization sign union cards to organize themselves, the union is only formed if the employer consents to its formation. Instead of doing so, companies often steer the election through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a process that makes it considerably more difficult for a union to be recognized because the union has to win an election in which it is opposed by the employers,, which hire skilled consultants to wage antiunion campaigns.

The legislation would mandate that companies recognize unionizing efforts among their workers if a majority of employees sign cards supporting the union. The business lobby, with a heavy push by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that such a requirement would effectively end secret balloting in union elections, as the cards do not have to be collected blindly, and would open up the possibility of labor unions coercing employees. Labor interests countered that such a change is necessary because the current system allows employers to coerce workers away from unions and to hold up legitimate organizing efforts for years.

In this vote, Republicans were seeking to change the bill to prohibit the recognition of a union by the card check method and require that a union be recognized and certified only after a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. The amendment was proposed by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

The amendment in the nature of a substitute failed on a vote of 173-256. All but one Democrat present voted against it, and 26 Republicans joined 230 Democrats in defeating the amendment. Thus, a bill to make it easier for employees to organize themselves in unions proceeded without provisions making that effort more difficult for employees.

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