Card Check: A Few Editorials, A Column

By June 21, 2007Labor Unions

Portland Press-Herald, Maine, in a counterintuitive take:

Senators are scheduled to vote this week on a measure that would hurt the bargaining strength of union members.
That’s not how union officials see the Employee Free Choice Act, but a closer examination of the measure shows that to be the case.

Allowing workers to form unions by signing petitions or union cards, rather than by secret ballot, invites coercion. Also, keeping the secret ballot will force organizers to convince the maximum number of employees of the benefit of union membership. The more members on the union’s rolls, the greater its clout at the bargaining table.

The difference between having the support of half the membership plus one and having 90 percent support can be significant during contract negotiations.

Charleston Daily Mail, W.V.:

SECRET balloting was instituted 60 years ago in union elections to protect employees from untoward pressure by bosses or union organizers.

Just as Americans elect public officials in the privacy of the voting booth, all workers should be allowed to vote in private on whether to unionize.

James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation, in The National Review, providing facts instead of union fiction:

Sure, union leaders point to a poll that claimed 60 million non-union workers want to join a union and would if the system allowed them to. But that survey was dubious at best. It was commissioned by the AFL-CIO and conducted by a Democratic pollster whose methodology has never been released.

Publicly released polls by nonpartisan pollsters show very different results. Zogby polling shows that, by a 74 to 20 percent margin, non-union workers want to stay that way. Union membership is declining because most workers don’t want to join. If they wanted to join, they would, well, vote to do so.

But maybe not, the AFL-CIO insists. It claims employers systematically intimidate workers into voting against a union by illegally firing pro-union workers. It alleges this happens in one quarter of all organizing elections.

That number, however, comes from a survey of union organizers conducted by a former union organizer. Government statistics paint a completely different picture. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) records show that employers illegally fire workers in fewer than one in 50 election campaigns.

The public supports secret ballots, there’s just no doubt about it, and that’s why the labor unions refuse to talk about the bill’s most offensive — and for them, effective — provision, the elimination of confidentiality. Senators who vote for the Employee Free Choice Act are serving a constituency of union leaders and left-wing activists, not the constituents who elected them — via secret ballot.

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