January 15 2009
Workers Deserve Secret Ballots
Elaine Chao has a great piece in the Wall Street Journal about several labor issues, including the importance of secret ballots for unionization elections. As common-sense as the secret ballot process is for any kind of election, the proposed "card check" legislation would would deprive workers of the ability to vote privately in workplace unionization elections. As Chao points out, the secret ballot process is a vital worker protection that dates back to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. But if Congress has it's way, all that will be out the window, irregardless of what workers actually want:
There is a push in Congress to enact card check despite the fact that the vast majority of workers -- including rank-and-file union members -- want to keep the private ballot system in workplace unionization elections and do not want it replaced by a signature card process that will subject them to the pressures of solicitation and potential intimidation by union activists. Ironically, to decertify a union, labor leaders insist on holding private-ballot elections to protect workers from employer intimidation.
Another destructive and undemocratic aspect of the card-check bill is a provision for government-dictated labor contracts in newly unionized workplaces. Under the bill, if an initial labor contract is not agreed to within a congressionally dictated timetable, the government could designate an "arbitration board" to write a labor contract that employers and workers would be forced to live under for two years. This is not just a problem for employers. Workers would not have any right to ratify or reject the contract.