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Card check could expose workers to pressure from both employers and union organizers.Labor activists contend, however, that such union intimidation is exceedingly rare.The number itself comes from the 2005 annual report of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The report shows that the NLRB ordered employers to pay that many workers back pay in 2005, but the NLRB awards back pay to resolve many types of disputes, very few of which involve intimidation during organizing.For example, the NLRB orders companies to provide back pay if they have unilaterally changed a collective bargaining agreement.A recent review of 113 cases cited by the HR Policy Association as "involving" fraud and coercion identified only 42 decisions since the Act's inception that actually found coercion, fraud or misrepresentation in the signing of union authorization forms. Compare that to the 31,358 cases in 2005 of illegal firings and other discrimination against workers for exercising their federally protected labor law rights. Other pro-union sources have cited the same figures, but union activists misrepresent the truth when they make these claims, and their allegations are refuted by solid National Labor Relations Board data.Companies Respect Employee Rights First, the claim that companies fire workers in one-quarter of organizing drives comes from a survey of union organizers, which is hardly an impartial source. No less mistaken is the claim that "illegal firings and other discrimination against workers" occurred 31,358 times in 2005.In fact, NLRB data reveal that employers rarely fire workers during organizing drives and that unions win most organizing elections.
In addition, if a company had illegally fired a worker for supporting a union during an election campaign, it would be required to reinstate that worker in addition to providing back pay.The full board usually decides cases that involve novel legal issues, not the routine enforcement of the law.The union argument makes as much sense as examining 60 years of Supreme Court rulings, finding 42 that involved arson, and then claiming that there have been only 42 cases of arson in the United States during that time.It means that the National Labor Relations Board has decided 42 cases concerning forgery or intimidation in the obtaining of union cards during that time. The NLRB is labor law's equivalent of the Supreme Court.Most cases are decided well before they reach the full board, either in a settlement or in an administrative law judge's decision.