When the Republican party was founded it formed around a nucleus of anti-slavery activists and northern labor reformers. They saw that the larger economic and political issue of the time, of which the abolition of slavery was only a part, was the idea of free labor. Slave labor was not free, and neither were workers in the industrial towns of the northeast who were in debt bondage to their employers. These 19th century liberals believed in free markets for the products of agriculture and industry and in a free market for labor, where workers were free to choose where they worked and to negotiate fair terms of employment based on market wages.
Abraham Lincoln was willing to go to war over this principle and hundreds of thousands fought and died to secure the right to live and work in an environment of freedom. In that era there was an understanding that labor and capital worked hand in hand for mutual benefit. This relationship was recognized in the Republican Party Platform of 1872:
Among the questions which press for attention is that which concerns the relations of capital and labor, and the Republican party recognizes the duty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protection and the amplest field for capital, and for labor — the creator of capital — the largest opportunities and a just share of the mutual profits of these two great servants of civilization.
Today there are those who would upset the balance between labor and capital and who would love to see an end to free labor and a return to a closed and controlled labor market where workers no longer have access to a free market of wages and opportunities. At the urging of labor unions who seek to establish monopolistic control over the workforce, Congressional Democrats led by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) have introduced a bill ironically titled the Employee Free Choice Act (HR1409). This act would take free choice away from workers and force unionization on workers in businesses nationwide without consideration of their best interests or preferences.
This bill, also known as "Card Check," would take away the right which workers currently have under the National Labor Relations Act to decide whether or not to join a union under the protection of a secret ballot. The EFCA would instead allow a public vote with no protection for the rights of workers and do so using deceptively worded authorization cards where the mere action of agreeing to hold a vote may obligate workers to accept unionization. If a vote is held, the public nature of the vote will subject workers to intimidation, peer-pressure and coercion from union operatives, making it easy to bully them into joining. If card check passes, workers will be coerced into joining unions against their will, swelling union treasuries with billions of dollars that will go to support the same Democrat politicians who have been promoting this bill.