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  • Keep the Secret Ballot Secret

    Former South Dakota senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:

    As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

    The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

    The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

    Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Keep the Secret Ballot Secret

    1. Paul, Milwaukee, WI says:

      I have great respect for Senator McGovern. But this time, he is simply wrong.

      In an ideal world, a secret ballot election might be an ideal way to determine employees’ choice regarding unionization. In the real world, the union election process has too often become anti-democratic.

      Employers’ power over employees and the workplace gives them overwhelming built-in advantages that no incumbent union has in a democratic political election. Employers bombard employees with anti-union propaganda in mandatory meetings, often one-on-one with employees’ own supervisors.

      The Employee Free Choice Act would help allow employees to gain the collective voice in the workplace that many say they want and need to bargain for decent wages and working conditions.

    2. Pingback: Keep the Secret Ballot Secret

    3. Brett, Duluth, Georg says:

      Union organizers have the same ability to bombard employees with their message. They can make every promise in the world, and they will, just to try to get employees to sign the authorization cards. They can come to your office, mail you propoganda, call your house, stop by your house, etc. Often times employees will just sign a card to get the union of their back. Under EFCA, little will they know that they just gave the union the right to represent them and take dues from their paychecks. Because, of course, the union does not have to say what the card really means.

      While the unions can say anything under the sun, employers are not so lucky. They cannot say the place is going to close down or that anyone will lose their job if the union is voted in. They can say things like you may make more, you may get less, etc. If employers are breaking the law, how about just stiffening penalties than deciding to do away with this crazy thing called a secret ballot?

    4. Luke, Cincinnati, Oh says:

      The secret ballot must stay. In a free and democratic society, I can't believe we're even considering this act. Unions were created to protect workers from their employers, who would often mistreat and bully them. This act, however, replaces the corporate bully with a unionized bully. The unions can pressure,intimidate, and decieve the workers, just so that the unions get more power.

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