Biden aide hints at concessions in card-check bill

WASHINGTON A senior adviser to Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., told a contingent of restaurateurs Wednesday that the frequent ally of organized labor would likely support employer accommodations in the card-check bill, a measure feared by the industry as a boon to unionization.

“At the end of the day, there may well be accommodations made for small businesses,” said James B. Greene, senior policy adviser for Biden, a longtime senator and current vice presidential candidate. “Though the senator feels the balance struck between labor and management has tilted the other way, once it becomes more realistic that the bill will pass he’ll be looking at more specifics of how it affects small businesses. There is probably some room to have good discussion about this. It’s not something that will go through with a single formula for every business.”

Greene offered that comment during a meeting with Delaware restaurateurs, who were visiting the senator’s office as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference. The conference brings a contingent of restaurant operators to Capitol Hill for meetings with their representatives and senators. The restaurateurs are encouraged to air their views on matters of concern to the restaurant industry.

One of those issues discussed by the Delaware operators was the card-check bill. The measure would change the way restaurant workers and other employees would decide whether to unionize. The means of voting would become a card they check off and sign, possibly in public, instead of indicating their preference in a secret ballot. Industry officials have voiced fears that employees would be pressured into signing, since their decision would be publicly known.

Biden is a co-sponsor of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.