Honda Center Should Say No To Card-Check Unionizing

When a union attempts to organize a work-place, it needs to get a specified percentage of targeted workers (I believe it is 30%) to petition for a unionizing vote, which is conducted by secret ballot.

Allowing workers to vote their preference in secret, free from harassment and intimidation, has become an obstacle to workplace organizing, so a top priority of the union movement is replacing the secret ballot with the “card-check” system.

Card-check does away with the secret ballot. Instead, union organizers go to work on employees to sign cards stating they want to be represented by the union. Once a majority of workers have been, This is done publicly, in full view of their co-workers and union organizers.  Union organizers know exactly who does and who doesn’t support unionization, making workers vulnerable to harassment and intimidation. Anyone who doesn’t think that would happen should attend an Anaheim City Council meeting packed with UNITE-HERE members.

Which brings me to the point of this post. During council comments at this week’s Anaheim City Council meeting, Councilman Jordan Brandman read a letter he had sent to Tim Ryan, the president and CEO of Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), which operates The Honda Center (go to the 3:01:16 mark on the council meeting video). The letter made several requests of AAM:

  • Meet with UNITE-HERE Local 11 and himself to discuss the process of transiting food service from Aramark to AAM
  • Consider hiring all existing Aramark employees for an evaluation period


“If a majority of the new employees at Honda Center decide to be represented by a labor organization, would Anaheim Arena management be supportive of majority sign-up, or card check? Under this process, workers who want a union would sign a card asking the union to represent them in collective bargaining, and if a majority signs the cards, the union is entitled to recognition.

It is my understanding that Anaheim Arena Management has indicated that it has no objection to the organizing of a collective bargaining unit. In view of that, considering majority sign-up/card check would further ensure that workers may freely do so.”

Jordan is a friend whom I supported for City Council and continue to support, but this is an issue where we respectfully part ways. Card-check diminishes free choice in workplace organizing and enhances opportunities for coercion. Unions such as UNITE-HERE like card-check because it significantly increases the odds of successfully organizing a workplace. It’s a truism that public peer pressure (or worse) will agree to something in public they wouldn’t support in private; that is the nature of peer pressure and the underlying dynamic of card-check.

Organizing Honda Center food service employees post Aramark isn’t about protecting the rights of those workers — it is about protecting the bottom line of UNITE-HERE Local 11, which needs the dues money of those 500-plus worker to keep flowing.

If UNITE-HERE Local 11 wants to organize those workers, it should do it the traditional way: persuade them that representation by UNITE-HERE is in their best interest. If their case is persuasive enough, allowing employees to make their choice via a secret ballot should not prove to be an obstacle.

Anaheim Arena Management should accept Councilman Brandman’s invitation to a meeting with himself and UNITE-HERE, and politely but firmly decline the use of card-check.


  1. Sick of politics

    100% agree. Ballots should be secret.

  2. Stand up for your community

    This makes me think twice about ever supporting Jordan Brandman. Obama wasnt even able to get card-check through a fully Democrat controlled Congress during his first term when there was one.

    Jordan needs to let the process work under the law and not try to pressure businesses for the benefit of Unite HERE. Unite HERE will never support Jordan anyway, so he should stop pandering!

  3. You people shouldn’t worry about the small liberal gestures Jordan has been making lately; if there were any danger of them having any effect, Pringle wouldn’t give his permission for him to make them.

    I can’t fault Jordan for sticking up for Honda workers, Harvey Milk, or Common Cause’s effort to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United – these are noble things – but really they are ineffectual gestures aimed to keep the support of uninformed Democratic voters. While with the important money and electoral decisions that really affect Anaheim he continues to stand foursquare with the council’s three corporatist RINOs.

    Even his language is laboriously couched in the vocabulary of ineffectiveness: he “urges” the powerful interests to “make an attempt” to do the right thing. Reminds me of how he assured us all that “it was his understanding” that Bill O’Connell, in return for the $158 million subsidy, would “really do his best” to hire union workers or possibly local workers or even workers at a decent wage, and that having got that “assurance,” there’s “just nothing more he can do about it as a Councilperson.”

    Hello? What you coulda done if you’d cared was to NOT VOTE FOR THIS SUBSIDY WITHOUT ALL THAT IN WRITING.


    • Matthew Cunningham

      “Pringle wouldn’t give his permission for him to make them.”

      What a stupid, ignorant comment, Vern, and yet the kind of comment I am not surprised to see coming from you.

      Jordan is his own man and has his own mind, your conspiratorial delusions notwithstanding.

  4. Vern Nelson – what have you ever done to advance any of the causes you claim to care so much about? Do you serve the city where you live? We know you can’t drive because of your record of DUIs but you manage to make it to our city by bus to rant during public comment – isn’t there a valuable non profit you could help? Don’t the 99 percent need actual help not just your meaningless rhetoric?

    As for Councilman Brandman, he’s done more for the city of Anaheim, its employees and Latinos in six months than Lorri Galloway did in 8 years. She never once championed translation services, honored Caesar Chavez or Harvey Milk, or did one substantive thing other than to raise funds for her non-profit and boast about designer shoes no one she claims to serve could afford in a lifetime. No one in Anaheim is interested in what you have to say about the city or ithe council.

    • LOL. Lorri, unlike Jordan, never did “substantive things” like “honor Cesar Chavez and Harvey Milk.” You rock, Anaheim Dem!

  5. So what you are implying is that it was beneath her to take those steps over eight years in office? Translation services – that’s LOL in your world too? Your double standards are prolific. Why don’t you name one thing she did to serve her constituents that was of genuine value in eight years – come on Vern – let’s hear it…we’re the ones who get the last laugh.

  6. And your silence on the question of serving your own community rather than ripping at ours is deafening … so clearly the answer is NO. Makes your credibility less than zero.

  7. You should use the reply button if you’re a blogger. But I’ll just stick my reply down here, in your style.

    I am using discipline in not letting you drag me into new subjects. This isn’t about Lorri and it’s not about me. If you wanna write a story about how Lorri did nothing substantive for 8 years, I’ll be glad to comment on that. If you want to know what I’ve done and accomplished this past decade, ask around – supposedly you’re a Democrat, you must know one or two others? But I’m not coming on here to toot my horn… (well, okay, I did win Volunteer of the Year at the State Convention in 2008, all I’m sayin…)

    No, this is about how Jordan’s actions so far are not SUBSTANTIVE (as nice as they sound). .. and you yourself illustrated that so well that I Literally Laughed Out Loud.

    (oh by the way, my license is fine, I’ve been driving to and from Anaheim – despite your little clique’s gossip I’ve only had one DUI in the past decade – back in 2008 – at a sub-Mike Schroeder 0.10. So … not sure what that has to do with the argument either, but there ya go, one other thing you’re off target about.)

  8. I’m not a “blogger” – I’m a resident commenting on your attack on Councilman Brandman who has been a strong supporter for a number of my party’s issues and I found it appaling you would belittle his efforts just because you don’t like him for whatever reason. I’ve lived in this city for more than 40 years and yes I’m a Democrat. Jordan Brandman is proving to be a good leader and I don’t appreciate your attacks on our city or its elected leaders.

    I don’t care what you think of the hotel issue – I looked into it on the city’s website – the information seems very clear that the city comes out ahead. Agree or disagree on that issue which was not the subject of this article either – it doesn’t warrant discrediting Mr. Brandman’s lengthy good work during his short time in office.

  9. How did this whole conversation end up on THIS story? It WAS on the Honda card-check story. Your blog’s doing weird things, Matt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *