PIA Responds to Introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act
WASHINGTON, DC—March 10, 2009—The following is a statement from Printing Industries of America in response to today's introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would effectively strip workers' rights to a federally-overseen, secret ballot election to determine union representation and also allows private contract terms to be set by government arbitrators.
The inaptly named Employee Free Choice Act introduced today effectively restricts workers' rights to a secret ballot election option regarding union organization by replacing it with a "card check" system in which a worker's position on unionization would be made public to management, union officials and co-workers. Replacing the secret ballot option with a "card check" system leaves workers vulnerable to coercion and intimidation during union organizing drives.
Equally concerning, the legislation would allow government arbitrators to impose contract terms on private sector employers and workers. Mandatory binding arbitration would lock printing and graphic communications companies and employees into wages, benefits, and other contract terms that would limit the industry's ability to react in real time to market conditions.
During this time of economic distress for the American manufacturing sector-in particular, the printing and graphic communications industry-the Employee Free Choice Act is risky legislation.
According to Printing Industries of America's most recent Quarterly Print Market Survey, employment in the industry fell seven percent-equal to nearly 74,000 jobs-in 2008. An empirical assessment study of the economic implications of the Employee Free Choice Act conducted by Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar of the Law and Economics Consulting Group concluded that unemployment would be compounded by passage of the legislation. Dr. Layne-Farrar's study estimates that within one year of passage, the Employee Free Choice Act would lead to a 5 to 10 percent increase in unionization, which, in turn, would lead to a one-half-three percent rise in private sector unemployment.
As Congress begins in earnest debate over the Employee Free Choice Act, Printing Industries of America will continue to urge opposition to the legislation so that workers' rights and the freedom and flexibility afforded to private companies will be preserved."
Printing Industries of America is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. For more information on advocacy related to the Employee Free Choice Act, please visit: www.myprivateballot.com.
About Printing Industries of America:
Printing Industries of America is the world's largest graphic arts trade association, representing an industry with more than one million employees. It serves the interests of more than 10,000 member companies. Together with its nationwide affiliate network, Printing Industries delivers products and services that enhance the growth, efficiency, and profitability of its members and the graphic communications industry through advocacy, education, research, and technical information.