If our nation was governed by business's version of democratic choice, we would hold elections to determine the winner, but nearly half the time the incumbent would remain in power even if he lost.
In its campaign to derail the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), business has fearlessly depicted itself as the defender of elections and the secret ballot as well as the foe of the dread "card check" -- the process, championed by unions and included within EFCA, that would allow workers to sign union affiliation cards rather than compelling them to go through a ratification election in which harassment and firings of workers are all too common.
But the kind of democratic choice that business favors is choice without consequence -- a position made clear by its opposition to the other key component of EFCA: binding arbitration between company and union if they've been unable to agree on a contract within 120 days of a union winning the election. A study of first-contract negotiations by John-Paul Ferguson and Thomas A. Kochan of MIT's Sloan School of Management makes clear why such arbitration is needed. After surveying 22,000 unionization campaigns between 1999 and 2004, the authors found that even after a majority of workers voted for a union, they actually reached a contractual agreement with management (which is currently under no legal obligation to come to an agreement) only 56 percent of the time.
Heads, management wins. Tails, the employees lose.