Card Check: Now That’s Confidence….or Hubris

By March 21, 2008Labor Unions

David Weigel of the libertarian Reason Magazine stopped by the Take Back America conference last week here in D.C., a gathering of labor-progressive usual suspects. Informative passage from Weigel’s blog reports:

Last night I cracked beers with some members of the United Steelworkers who were funny and blunt about the election. “We needed to get rid of Hillary, and it looks like she’s done,” one said. I asked him about the chances of passing the Employee Free Choice Act (which would let people unionize by signing cards instead of holding elections) if a Democrat won the election. He looked at me like I was drooling. “If the sun comes up in the morning, we’re passing card check.”

And more, citing the head of American Rights at Work, a union group:

A questioner (who works for the Social Security Administration) asks if EFCA can really be passed if the Democrats don’t get 60 Senate seats. Mary Beth Maxwell points out that the Act got some Republican votes. But: “It’s a beginning, the sea change moment that shows we can turn this around, we can secure this right for millions of workers.”

The sea change moment: Eliminating secret ballots in the workplace.

How aspirational.

UPDATE (March 24, 9:30 a.m.) Jim Gray comments: “What is most interesting about the first blog comment is that the rationale given for eliminating the secret ballot is the same rationale that triggered the (original) creation of the secret ballot for NLRB elections!”

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Kathy Bloom says:

    I agree with John–the sarcasm is a bit premature. There’s a fundamental difference between a secret ballot election to elect politicians– where the polls are located on neutral grounds– a church, a school, etc. and a union election that takes place in the workplace–which is hardly neutral at all. When workers cast their ballots to form a union — they have to vote right there at work, at the job they need to keep in order to feed their families and pay their bills. I don’t see what’s so objectionable about having the freedom to cast your “vote” on your own terms, even in the privacy of your own home, if you choose.

  • John Humphrey says:

    “How aspirational!” you add sarcastically, about eliminating a “secret ballot”.

    You skip over the fact – as if irrelevant – that it is “in the workplace”. In other words, you have no idea about (or choose wilfully to ignore) the totally skewed power relationship that exists inside corporate premises, and the way in which propaganda, subtle and not-so-subtle intimidation and fear slops down on the heads of “associates” aka hired hands.
    What can be more “secret” (protective of the individual) than signing a card in the privacy of your own home or in the parking lot, coffee-shop or meeting room, away from company spies, pay-check advisories and the furrowed brows of supervisors?
    That’s the meaning of “free choice”, IMHO.

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