WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) applauded Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter for announcing his opposition to the "Employee Free Choice Act," also known as card check. NTMA and PMA, who together advocate on issues affecting small- and medium-sized manufacturers, called on other Members of Congress to preserve one of the fundamental rights of all Americans: the right to a private ballot.

"We applaud Senator Specter for resisting pressure to support card check, which violates the fundamental American principle of the private ballot while taking a major step toward diminishing America’s global competitiveness," says Jeffrey S. Kelly, NTMA interim CEO and CEO of Hamill Manufacturing Co. (Trafford, PA). "Small and medium manufacturers throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States are struggling right now to make it through this economy. The last thing we need to do is rewrite our country's labor relations rules in a way that disadvantages small and medium businesses."

Current law allows unions to organize through the customary National Labor Relations Board secret ballot election. Under card check, a petition to form a union could be openly circulated in the workplace until just over 50% of employees sign on, at which point a union could be formed without an opportunity for workers to confidentially express their support or opposition to forming a union. In addition, business owners and the newly formed union would have only 120 days in which to reach an agreement, or a federally appointed arbitrator would impose a binding two-year contract.

"There is simply no good reason to pass a law in the middle of a recession that paves the way for binding arbitration on companies and forces employees to declare how they feel about unionizing in front of all their co-workers," says Wayne Boeckman, PMA’s 2009 chairman of the board. "We hope others follow Senator Specter’s lead and have the courage to choose common sense over political expediency, and declare their opposition to this poorly conceived idea."