WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Precision Metalforming Association expressed serious concern over the negative impact of the "Employee Free Choice Act" on small- and medium-sized businesses and called on Congress to preserve one of the fundamental rights of all Americans: the right to a private ballot.

"Our members – mostly closely-held small and medium sized businesses – pride themselves on the strong relationships and mutual respect with their employees established by working together over many, many years," says PMA First Vice Chair Gretchen Zierick, who is also president of Zierick Manufacturing Corp. (Mt. Kisco, NY). "Many metalforming companies are already struggling to stay afloat in this economy and the last thing they need is for Congress to impose labor relations rules that are so one-sided as to destroy these relationships and threaten the ability of these businesses to survive."

Current law allows unions to organize through the customary National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) secret ballot election. Under the proposed new Card Check system, 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 can 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 a total of 120 days in which to reach an agreement or a federally appointed arbitrator will impose a binding two-year contract.

"We would hope that U.S. lawmakers would work to prevent – not to foster – ideas that disadvantage small and medium sized businesses," says PMA President William Gaskin. "When Americans vote in Congressional elections, they are not forced to publicly disclose how they voted, nor should they be intimidated over how they cast their ballot. This legislation manages both to violate the fundamental American principle of the private ballot, while taking a major step in the wrong direction for preserving America’s global competitiveness – the key to maintaining high paying jobs for American workers."

PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $91-billion metalforming industry of North America-the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 1,200 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.