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Romney slams union 'card check' plan: 'Does that create jobs?'

November 05, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Mitt Romney leads a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Mitt Romney leads a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax,… (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty…)

FAIRFAX, Va. — The same day that the head of one of the nation’s largest unions was quoted pledging that “card check” would occur if President Obama is elected to a second term, Republican nominee Mitt Romney slashed at the president about the proposal, which would make labor organizing easier, saying it would hurt small businesses and job creation.

At a rally Monday in northern Virginia, Romney raised the matter known as card check, legislation that would compel companies to recognize unions if a majority of workers publicly declared their support. Romney invoked the issue while he listing positions that he said proved that Obama put liberal ideology ahead of fixing the nation’s economy.

“Let me tell you why he fell so far short of what he promised: It’s because he cared so much more about the liberal agenda he was pursuing than he did about the economy,” Romney said. “… How about his plan to require companies to have unions whether the employees want to vote for them or not? Card check! Does that create jobs?”

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“No!” responded the crowd of several thousand in a college basketball arena.

Card check has long been sought by unions as a way to increase their rolls. Democrats have supported it as a way of strengthening workers’ rights, but it is controversial because it does away with a secret ballot. Various forms of card check have been proposed over the years, but essentially they would bypass the traditional union election process and allow workers to be certified as a bargaining unit if a majority signed cards indicating their support for a union.

Obama has supported card check, but it is controversial and was not pursued even when Democrats had control of both houses of Congress when his term began. Democrats weakened their language about the matter in their party platform earlier this year.

In an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, a major Obama backer, said of card check, “That's within the next term.”

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Romney has occasionally raised the matter on the stump, but it is not a staple. He mentioned it twice during the rally in Fairfax, the third stop of a five-event, four-state day just hours before voters headed to the polls on election day.

Earlier, Ann Romney introduced her husband by alluding to the proximity of northern Virginia to the White House, across the Potomac River.

“Are we going to be neighbors soon?” she said. “It’s so exciting to have walked into a room like this and get greeted like that. But the thing you don’t know: There’s as many of you outside as inside right now. And that’s the momentum we have been feeling. It’s not just in Virginia. It’s all across this country.”

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Seema.mehta@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSeema

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