Coming legislative battle will be a big one |

Coming legislative battle will be a big one

Michael KurzVail, CO, Colorado

We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. Its not a matter of if, its a matter of when. Senator Barack Obama, in The Chicago Tribune, March 4, 2007.The dust has yet to settle from the elections and the left is already using national media and social networking Web sites to fire the first shots across the bow of American business. This first attempt to drag us down is significant. Should the legislation Im about to describe pass, it could be a major blow to individual rights and eventually to many of our businesses.Broadly known as the card check bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, which has precious little to do with freedom, passed through the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, and, as seen by Pete Havel at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, It will easily pass the House when brought before the next Congress. The larger battle will be in the Senate, where it failed in 2007. However, with the recent elections, the Senate may potentially have 60 votes to pass the bill. Then-Senator Barack Obama co-sponsored and voted for the Employee Free Choice Act.Continuing Havels take, This bill will eliminate the secret ballot in union elections and lower the threshold to 50 percent of employees needing to sign a simple card to form a union. Imagine the potential worker intimidation when union organizers and pro-union employees know who has signed a card and who is a holdout. In addition, once a union is formed, a business will have 120 days to reach agreement on a new contract and benefits. If agreement is not reached within 120 days, the business would find itself in binding arbitration.Havel believes, and we agree, that the hospitality industry, retailers, hospitals, and the construction industry could all be especially vulnerable to this legislation if it becomes law.Please join us in helping defeat this destructive legislation. There are literally hundreds of national and regional organizations that have joined the U. S. Chambers Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which is fighting the bill. The American Hospital Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Trucking Associations, National Association of Automobile Dealers, National Association of Home Builders, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Federation of Independent Business, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, along with no less a prominent figure than former U. S. Sen. George McGovern, have all joined the fray. What can you do?I ask you to consider doing a few things: All Democrats from Colorado voted for the legislation that passed in the House. Please, as soon as possible, reach out to your Congressional delegates and let them know your feelings on this issue. Senator Ken Salazar and Senator-elect Mark Udall both voted for the bill. With the major upcoming action being in the Senate, both men especially need to hear from the business community.Thankfully, the Denver Post has already come out against the bill, stating in a Nov. 11 editorial, Obama and the Democratic majority should resist the urge to pay off organized labor by passing this divisive and unnecessary law Pushing card check would immediately endanger the new administrations ties to the business community and complicate the delicate but vital task of getting the American economy back on track.We couldnt agree more. Remember, the defeat of this bill doesnt prevent anyone from forming or joining a union. It just leaves it, as in the currently well-functioning system, a matter of a private vote.Event Update: Dec. 14: Success in 60 Seconds speed networking event, 8 a.m. 5 p.m., The Sonnenalp Resort and Spa, Vail. Dec. 9: Local non-profit executive meeting, 8:30 11:30 a.m. Vail Valley Partnership offices, Avon.Dec. 10: Ask the Experts #2, business finance panel discussion, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., partnership office. RSVP required. Dec. 17: Business After Hours Mixer, 5 7 p.m., Ruggs Benedict Carpet One Floor & Home, Avon. Free to Vail Valley Partnership members.Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership

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