Former NLRB chair argues against need for card-check legislation

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The former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board this week criticized proposed legislation that would eliminate secret ballots during union elections. This legislation would ultimately make it easier for nursing home workers to unionize.

There is no reason to abandon the secret ballot election process that the NLRB has administered for seven decades, former NLRB chairman Peter Hurtgen told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Under the legislation, the National Labor Relations Board would have to certify a union if it receives signed authorization cards from a majority of the employees the union is seeking to organize.

The proposed legislation also would establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations. The House passed the Employee Free Choice Act earlier this month. It is estimated that unions currently represent employees at between 10% and 20% of nursing facilities in the United States.