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Furniture Executives Voiced Opinions with Congress About Card Check Bill

Furniture manufacturers and retailers joined forces two weeks ago when they visited 13 Congress members to urge them to prioritize policies that will revive the furniture industry. Specifically, they talked to lawmakers about making policies that will reinvigorate lending and consumer purchases, as well as to reduce unnecessary laws that would increase costs or upset workplace relations.

One of the main goals of the group was to persuade Congress to disagree with the Employee Free Choice Act or the "Card Check Bill" which will remove employees' privileges for secret ballot voting and instead compel employers "to recognize a union once a majority of their workers sign cards for support".

"Our objective was to make it clear to lawmakers that we oppose any proposals such as this that would hinder the rights of our employees, our ability to maintain jobs, and the industry's ability to maintain economic competitiveness," says Bruce Bradburn, CEO of The Bradburn Co. and 2009 American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) chairman.

Bradburn was joined by nine other manufacturers and retailers from other companies including Ashley Furniture Industries, Furniture Brands International, Rowe Fine Furniture, Sauder Woodworking, Vaughan-Bassett, American Home Furniture Alliance, National Home Furnishings Association, and Bassett Furniture Industries.

Earlier this month, some members of the group tried to persuade legislators not to support two pricey provisions related to Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) benefits. The first one requires employers to provide COBRA coverage to 55-years old and above terminated employees until they reach age 65 or until they find another job that offers similar insurance. The other one requires the same amount of extension for terminated employees who have served in the company for 10 or more years.

"These provisions would place employers in the position of maintaining individuals in the insurance pool who are years removed from employment with the company, driving up insurance costs for current employees as well as for the employees," stated Bradburn.

The said provisions were eventually removed from the final stimulus bill after the meeting.

Last week, AHFA invited more than a dozen furniture executives in California to meet up with Sen. Kay Hagan. The Card Check Bill was one of the main topics discussed.

Bradburn said that with their multiple meetings with the new senator, there is no doubt that Sen. Hagan has been well exposed with the issues in the furniture industry. He furthered that the other lawmakers they visited have also expressed their support of the group's effort to keep the furniture industry strong.

Meanwhile, AHFA will continue its efforts for a better furniture industry at the BOR meeting on Capitol Hill on May 12-13 this year. Among their top goals would be to meet with important legislators in the country.

Please post a comment to let us know what you think of the Card Check Bill.

Source: Furniture Today

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