Guest opinion by Alan DeBoer
The recent guest commentary titled "The Employee Free Choice Act explained" (Daily Tidings, Dec. 5) needs a response. I will try to leave my bias out and only explain my experience with a union-organizing effort at my business.
When I first purchased Town and Country Chevrolet from Bob Frink in the early '80s, it was in the process of a union organization. A recent hire (mechanic) was actually a union organizer who promptly started a process of signing cards that were to allow a secret vote to see if a union was to represent them.
Of course everyone signed, as it was only to explore the option, promised by a secret ballot thereby protecting how you voted. They were not told that if the employer did anything wrong in this process they would not get to vote, but the federal government would just enact the union, which I had to bargain with in good faith.
Many promises were made by the union, including salaries and benefits that were far higher than those currently enjoyed by the same employees represented by this union in our state.
The great costs to my business — just to understand the rules to communicate with my own employees, worry over not violating many state and federal laws, and ultimately understanding that if I were found in violation of any of these, my employees would not even get the chance to vote, as the government would just impose the union — were very unsettling.
When the vote was counted and the choice of our employees was to not unionize, the mechanic quit. It was interesting that the union abandoned the other shop and just left, not protecting their members.
I would hope we would always require a vote in secret, an American tradition that protects how we voted and keeps peer pressure out of the result.
One other thing in the bill that we do not hear about is: Once a union is formed, the business owner, who now needs to bargain in good faith, would be required to abide by an arbitrator's ruling on pay and benefits regardless of the ability to pay. Wow, that is scary!
Alan DeBoer is the owner of TC Chevy and a former mayor of Ashland.