Card-check alternatives gaining ground with lawmakers

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Last week, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced that he might not support current union "card-check" legislation. Since then, a number of alternative labor reform plans have begun to gain popularity.

The current legislation has three main provisions: stricter penalties for employer intimidation and retribution against union organizers, mandatory arbitration in the event a contract cannot be reached within 120 days, and the controversial card-check, which would do away with secret ballots and instead require a simple majority of employees sign a card to form a union.

While labor representatives and politicians alike are generally on board with the first two provisions, the card-check aspect is proving to be a sticking point. By way of compromise, some moderates in the Senate and those from the business community suggest even more stringent penalties for employers who unduly intimidate employees and a three-week window between calls for elections and the elections themselves, reports the Washington Post. An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times recommends keeping the secret ballots, but altering the way in which the elections are conducted.