Vote? Sure You Can Vote. Yeah. That’s the Ticket.

By May 18, 2007Labor Unions

As noted earlier, labor’s supporters of the contradictorily named Employee Free Choice Act are generally loathe to talk about the bill’s specifics. Advocates have obviously concluded that depriving people of the right to a secret ballot is a topic best avoided.

Take this detail-free video clip from Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union, a lovely piece of class warfare in a powder-blue sweater:

The Employee Free Choice Act is really about how we’re going to share in the wealth of a growing economy and not just with the CEOs and the shareholders. And so, I think Democrats are beginning to understand the Employee Free Choice Act is about unions as a solution to the gap between the rich and the rest of the population. If that is true, and I think it is, and history has proven we can do that, now we have a real chance to pass it, Not because it’s a union issue, but because it’s an American issue.

As American as the secret ballot?

Anyway, that’s not to say supporters of the “card check” bill never, ever address the loss of the secret ballot. Sometimes they feel compelled to deny reality. A ridiculous denial, though. As Atlanta labor attorney Richard Hankins explains in commenting on an AFL-CIO blog post attacking Senator Norm Coleman, R-MN. (The first paragraph is the blog, the second Richard’s comment.)

Minnesota AFL-CIO Mobilizing and Organizing Director Candace Lund said that Coleman’s stance is based on a “deliberate misunderstanding of the bill.” She explains that the law would allow workers to choose a secret-ballot election or a majority sign-up process when deciding on a union. Business groups—and Sen. Coleman—claim the bill would ban the elections. Not true.

Of course, Ms. Lund is absolutely correct in pointing out that NLRB secret ballot elections would not be banned or eliminated under the proposed legislation. But it is misleading for Ms. Lund and others to suggest that “workers” would be able to choose that option. That leaves one with the impression that any worker can go to the NLRB and have the matter put to a secret vote. The reality is that the holder of the authorization cards — the union — would be the only party with an option. And, having spent tens of millions of dollars on legislation requiring card-check recognition, it is hard to imagine that a petition for a secret ballot election would be anything but a last resort for any union organizer.

Just so. Can you imagine a union gaining recognition through a card check — perhaps using intimidation in the process — and then volunteering to surrender that recognition via a secret-ballot election? It just won’t happen.