- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007


President Bush will veto legislation that would allow workers to form unions by signing cards rather than voting by secret ballot, Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Labor activists have said they believe they can get the Employee Free Choice Act through the Democrat-controlled Congress, but they have acknowledged that the current president might not sign it into law.

The legislation would require formation of a union after a majority of workers signed authorization cards. Under current law, 30 percent of workers can request an election to form a union, a process that usually takes from six weeks to six months, said AFL-CIO organizing director Stewart Acuff.

The proposal, which was to come up for a vote yesterday in the House Education and Labor Committee, would also impose stronger penalties on employers who violate labor laws and allow for arbitration to settle first-contract disputes.

Business lobbies such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose the legislation, saying workers should vote on forming unions by secret ballot, rather than signing cards or petitions.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said employers routinely threaten employees when they try to form unions.

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