As our nation celebrates Labor Day -- a day we honor the American worker -- many will rightly focus on our nation's high unemployment rate and what steps Congress can take to create an environment which help small businesses create jobs, instead of placing more rules and regulations on employers.
As I travel around our state and talk to business owners, I hear from those who -- while trying to create jobs -- face tremendous challenges. Right now, America's employers are afraid to invest in an economy hijacked by runaway 'stimulus' spending, impending tax increases, and insecurity created by Congress.
The prospect of higher taxes, more regulations, and even more interference from Washington is creating a chilling effect on our economic recovery. The ongoing uncertainty is hurting small businesses and preventing the creation of private sector jobs. This doubt -- especially during a time when our economy is struggling to right itself -- is a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seem bent on allowing this uncertainty to fester. Time and time again, Democrats have refused to rule out considering portions of their job-killing agenda during a 'lame duck' session of Congress following the November election.
This 'lame duck' session could easily feature anti-business legislation such as the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act -- also known as 'card check.'
Fair and equal treatment in the workplace begins with the individual rights of employees. The Employee Free Choice Act requires the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) to certify union representation without a secret ballot election. The bill would recognize a union as the workers' representatives if a majority of workers have signed a simple petition (the 'card' in 'card check'). The bill also imposes mandatory binding arbitration on unions and employers which fail to reach an initial collective bargaining agreement.
This proposed system abandons workers' rights to secret ballot elections, leaving them vulnerable to harassment and intimidation.
No one should ever be forced into or prevented from joining a properly elected labor union, which is why I voted against the bill when it was previously considered. In fact, I am supporting the Secret Ballot Protection Act (H.R. 1176). Under this measure, a union only would be recognized by the NLRB if it won majority support in a secret ballot election. This requirement would preserve the sanctity of employee free choice and protect workers from coercion and intimidation.
Card check legislation, though stalled, is anything but dead as long as its proponents have an opportunity to force this job-killing bill through after American voters have their say. Just a few weeks ago, in fact, President Obama himself said he will keep on fighting for card check.
Since February 2009, the private sector has lost millions of jobs while the federal government continues to grow. Even as I write, the Obama Administration has nearly 200 rules and regulations pending which could each have an estimated annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more.
Unfortunately, small business owners are facing tremendous challenges. If you are a small business owner trying to create jobs in this economy, I encourage you to visit my website at http://adriansmith.house.gov and click on the "Tell Me Your Story" link on the bottom of the page or contact any of my offices listed below. Tell me firsthand how you are struggling to create jobs because of Washington overreach.
The American people deserve to be listened to, and I will work to ensure Washington doesn't push through job-killing legislation or create more economic uncertainty.