• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Save Our Secret Ballot Takes on Employee Free Choice Act

    WASHINGTON – Ernest Istook, Chairman of the National Advisory Board for Save Our Secret Ballot, described at the Conservative Bloggers’ Briefing yesterday a grassroots, state-level strategy to nullify the effects of the Employee Free Choice Act should it be passed by Congress.

    SOSBallot.org, a 501 c(4) organization, is currently pushing for constitutional amendments to be placed on the ballots of Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nevada and Utah. “Save Our Secret Ballot exists to give the citizens in the various states the opportunity to creat state level protections for secret ballots that would include union representation elections,” Istook said.

    Istook, who is also a former Congressman from Oklahoma and a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is determined to stop the EFCA, which he says will enable unions to strong-arm otherwise unwilling workers into endorsing the formation of a union by eliminating the privacy of their vote. Instead, a far more public system of simply signing an authorization form will replace the secret ballot.

    “Intimidation and attempts to intimidate people is very real,” Istook said. “Certainly, one of the areas where it has a sad history is union organizing tactics.”

    “When you go into a voting booth, do you expect someone to be going in there with you?” he asked.  “The unions are seeking to bypass [the right to a secret ballot]. It’s their payback for the hundreds of millions of dollars that they have invested in the elections.”

    Only 12% of American workers are members of a union. Istook and SOSballot.org feel the impetus behind this measure lies in the shrinking size of the unionized workforce. “It’s driven by a desire to reverse a 50 year decline in union membership in the US,” he said.

    “The secret ballot is the key to protecting our other rights. That is at the essence of the democratic process. We’re standing up for a fundamental right that most Americans believe is protected by the US Constitution. It is not.”

    He warned that “the skids are greased in the US congress with the most liberal congress in history; poised to adopt that: the most liberal president in history, ready and eager to sign it.”

    Istook’s fervor on the issue is perhaps indicative of the mentality the entire conservative movement should more fully embrace: “Let’s stand up for the right thing regardless,” he said. “That’s the way you win people over.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Save Our Secret Ballot Takes on Employee Free Choice Act

    1. rob in lake forest says:

      Gerrit — Shouldn't you and Mr. Istook call this dying gasp of unionism what it really is: The "Soviet" union card check initiative ——-

      Also, you say 12% of Americans belong to unions, but is not private sector unionism in the mid single-digits? — The rest being public unions???

    2. Wayne from Jeremiah says:

      I've linked to your post with a quotation from Voter Intimidation Watch where I am collecting articles on voter intimidation.

      Clearly a Card Check system would corrupt the voting process, open the doors to voter intimidation …

    3. Dennis A Social Circ says:

      The secret ballot must be maintained. The unions will do anything they can to stop the process so they will become the winner. VOTING IS A PRIVILEDGE, AND IS NOT GUARANTEED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. When will people wake up and see this country is going down the tubes with the liberal media and Congress in charge.

    4. cassie, dc says:

      Actually, if you read the language of the bill it does not take away the right to a secret ballot. A union would be legally recognized with 51% majority, but only 30% is needed to request an NLRB election the way it has been used in the past.

    5. Roger in Denver says:

      A couple of great videos on the subject


      And my favorite of all

    6. Pingback: Art Levine: Big Business’s Threat to America: Bust Unions or We’ll Go Overseas | Black News Tribune

    7. Joe The Average Work says:

      Guess What, Heritage: Strong Economies Have Strong Unions

      by Seth Michaels, Jan 15, 2009

      This week, the hard-right Heritage Foundation—a major funding source for corporate-friendly and anti-union research and spin—released its Index of Economic Freedom, an annual ranking of the economic climate of the world’s nations. Using Heritage’s numbers, it seems the organization should take a second look at its anti-union spin: The figures show that many of these countries have, by comparison to the United States, very high rates of union membership.

      Matthew Yglesias, a fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, compares the union density of the top 10 economically strong countries on the Heritage list:

      Hong Kong—22.1 percent

      Singapore—18.5 percent

      Australia—20.0 percent

      Ireland—35.0 percent

      New Zealand—21.1 percent

      United States—12.0 percent

      Canada—29.7 percent

      Denmark—80.0 percent

      Switzerland—25.0 percent

      United Kingdom—28.4 percent

      What’s more, most of the countries Heritage considers to have a high degree of “economic freedom” have far more worker-friendly labor laws than we do in this nation. In Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the process for forming a union and bargaining is controlled by workers, not by bosses. Indeed, of the top 20 countries on the Heritage list, 16 have labor laws similar to the Employee Free Choice Act, letting workers have the choice to form unions through majority sign-up. In giving corporations veto power over how workers form unions, the United States is a rare exception among industrialized democracies.

      Heritage’s own numbers show the hollowness of their attacks on the Employee Free Choice Act. Strong economies around the world go hand-in-hand with the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life. Indeed, one of the biggest impediments to U.S. economic performance is that prosperity isn’t broadly shared, and workers lack the purchasing power and economic security that allows them to reach the middle class and participate in creating economic growth. Without the power to bargain for better wages and benefits, Yglesias notes, U.S. workers have been trapped in an unsustainable cycle of debt.

      In part because of the lobbying efforts of anti-worker groups like Heritage, corporations in the United States treat workers’ freedom to form unions as a threat, and block workers’ ability to exercise this basic human right. That’s not economic freedom—and it’s not helping our struggling economy.

      So take a look at your own numbers, Heritage. Widespread union membership and worker-friendly labor laws can—and should—be part of a healthy economy.


    8. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      The Secret Ballot is not broken,leave it alone!Then you will have time to go feed the Starving

      that Obama will not!

    9. actionashley in tn says:

      SAVE THE SECRET BALLOT!!!!! The EFCA is ludicrous, and it's the last thing that the American workforce needs, especially in this rough economy. We need to bolster employee confidence, not squelch it. . I encourage everyone to check out this website and tell your congresspeople just how unfair this bill is.

    10. Mike, Hickory, NC says:

      To start with, an encyclopedic and dictionary definition of both "Secret Ballot" and "Ballot":

      Secret ballot: "The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices are confidential. The key aim is to ensure the voter records a sincere choice by forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery." (from "Wikipedia the free encyclopedia").

      Ballot: "The action or system of secret voting" (from New College Merriam-Webster English Dictionary, page 88, definition 2a).

      Plus, not only has voting by secret ballot long been integral to what’s called our “democratic process” and protective of us voters against intimidation and/or bribery, etc, but those people, organizations (including unions), and/or governments who mount any overt or covert efforts against such as voting by secret ballot, have all long been quite accurately and correctly identified as elitist totalitarians who are thus actually opposed to what’s called our “democratic process”, such as voting by secret ballot, and thus also what’s called “democracy” itself.

      With these facts, and others, it becomes extremely evident and obvious, (except perhaps to such as Leftist/elitist totalitarian union thugs, their Leftist/elitist government allies, and their Leftist/elitist flunkies), that any covert and/or overt efforts against what’s called our “democratic” process and protection of voting by secret ballot, including the misleadingly so-called "Employee Free Choice Act", are not to promote and safeguard our “democratic principles and practices”, such as voting with the protection of secret ballots, but are instead evidently and obviously meant to subvert and overrule them for a freedoms, businesses, jobs, and economy-killing Leftist/elitist totalitarian agenda, in the name of “unionizing”, of course.

    11. David in Florida says:

      The United states of America is and forever will be a UNION! It was founded by great men with High Ideals and a VISION for progress. Ensure the rights of workers to form unions if they should so choose. It is the fundamental idea that has born this great country and that is the freedom of choice! This legislation is good for the American Workers and for the middle class to make a resurgence. Yes that's right the middle class the former backbone of this great land that through taxation has created many jobs for the American Worker. Jobs that are being cut because of a severe lack of funding( by the taxes they would have been paying) like School teachers for our children. Policeman for our communities. Fireman for crying out loud. The very people you may come to need in an EMERGENCY. I for one say let the people coose and have a voice!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.