The Legal Services Corp., a congressionally chartered, taxpayer entity, is being subjected to a union organizing drive.  Presented with a demand for recognition through a card check, the organization has declined insisting on the right to a secret ballot election.

The exercise of this right – under the law – is drawing fire. Supporters of EFCA say this situation is a prime example of why EFCA should be enacted.

Senator Harkin, the new Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee not only is critical of the LSC’s right to insist on a secret vote but also finds it “…troubling to learn that LSC is now using hard fought-for-taxpayer funds to retain a law firm and engage in a campaign to potentially frustrate employee’s desire to exercise their right to join a union.” (See link to – EXCLUSIVE: Federal program rejects ‘card check’ effort). 

Imagine that … the LSC has hired a law firm in connection with the compliance of their employee’s right to join or not to join a union. Should LSC not hire legal counsel and take the chance of violating the law?

Senator Harkin is the key Senator seeking an EFCA compromise. Many labor leaders praised his selection as Chairman of the HELP Committee. Senator Harkin said to the press when his selection was announced that “EFCA is still on the burner…EFCA is still cooking.” (DLR, 9-10-09). 

Senator Harkin is the son of a coal miner.  Richard Trumka, expected to be elected AFL-CIO President next week, was a former President of the United Mine Workers. Do not be surprised to see Senator Harkin at the convention being held in Pittsburgh. Employers should expect coal in their Christmas stockings this year.

We congratulate Senator Harkin and wish him well on behalf of everyone vitally interested in workplace issues.