September 5, 2009

AFL-CIO head softens card-check support

A top U.S. labor leader says he's open to a compromise in stalled legislation making it easier for unions to organize by mandating a card-check system.

John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said in an interview with Saturday's Washington Post he would be willing to part with organized labor's long-standing efforts to pass card-check unionization election provisions, which are bitterly opposed by Republicans and business interests, and instead back legislation that would allow speedy, or snap, elections for union representation.

Sweeney told the Post he could live with fast or snap elections as long as there is a fair process that protects workers against anti-union intimidation by employers and eliminates the threats to workers.

Recognizing there are not 60 votes in the U.S. Senate for the card-check provision, Sweeney said, If modifying that in some way or another is going to bring some more votes for the bill, I think that's worth it.

The card-check provision would require employers to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards favoring a union. GOP opponents support the current system of secret ballot elections, which gives companies ample time to mount intense anti-unionization campaigns, the newspaper said.