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AGC Urges Opposition to 'Card Check' Legislation

The nation’s largest construction association, the Associated General Contractors of America, today called on its 33,000 member companies ...

March 05, 2009

The nation’s largest construction association, the Associated General Contractors of America, today called on its 33,000 member companies to immediately contact their representatives and senators and urge them to oppose proposed "card check" legislation. The legislation, which would deprive millions of employees of the right to a private election to decide whether to unionize, would hurt construction workers and make it very difficult for small construction companies to grow, hire or succeed, according to the AGC.

"If this bill were to pass, employees would suffer the most," said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. "In exchange for workplace disruptions, lost rights and federally mandated employment terms, this bill offers nothing that would benefit the nation’s economy."

Sandherr said the bill, labeled the Employee Free Choice Act, would take away a worker’s right to a private vote in deciding whether to form a union. He noted that the association, which represents both union and non-union construction companies, has long supported time honored rules guaranteeing workers the ability to make one of the most important choices of their working career in a way that is free of coercion or intimidation from either side.

He added that the legislation also requires the federal government to appoint an arbitrator to impose terms of employment for America’s business workers if their unions and managers can’t reach a deal in 130 days. Currently, the federal government can only impose an outside arbitrator if either side fails to negotiate in good faith. 

He said the 130-day provision was particularly problematic for the construction industry because over 90 percent of construction companies are small businesses that employ fewer than 100 people.  He said the prospect of having government-appointed officials with little experience in construction dictate labor agreements would discourage would-be employers from starting their own operations.

As a result, Sandherr said, the card check legislation would lead to the consolidation of the construction industry into a handful of large companies with the resources to cope with Washington-directed labor agreements. "Gone would be the innovations brought on by entrepreneurs and the satisfaction of working for a small company that operates like a family," he added.

The association is asking its member companies to contact their representatives directly, or to visit www.agc.org/efca to learn more. "We're going to let Congress know this bill will deprive workers of their right to a private election while limiting economic growth and job creation for years to come," Sandherr said."

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