Card Check: Will Work Against Supporters in Fall

By April 1, 2008Labor Unions

Very interesting. Candidate after candidate backed by organized labor has sworn allegiance to the Employee Free Choice Act, but if a new survey is any indication, that support could cost them votes in the fall elections. The survey of Senate races in Colorado, Minnesota and Maine shows voters supporting secret-ballot elections in the workplace, which the Employee Free Choice Act would destroy:

Voters in Colorado, Maine and Minnesota favor federally supervised secret and private ballot elections over a process where the majority of workers simply sign a card and workers’ signatures are made public to their employers, union organizers and co-workers. In fact, the overwhelming majority of voters agrees that secret and private ballots are the cornerstone of democracy and should be kept for union elections. Voters are concerned that intimidation of workers by management or union leaders could be a serious problem in union organizing elections.

When it comes to Congress taking action on this issue, Colorado, Maine and Minnesota voters prefer leaving federal union laws the way they are now. The majority of voters opposes a bill in Congress called the “Employee Free Choice Act” which would replace federally supervised secret and private ballot elections with a process that requires the majority of workers to simply sign a card to authorize organizing a union.

The survey was conducted by the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin and Associates. The National Association of Manufacturers is a founding member of the coalition. (News release here.)

We’ve seen the card-check legislation become an issue so far in only one election when the conservatives at the Red State blog cited it in endorsing Sean Parnell, the Republican primary challenger to Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

But the issue should certainly figure prominently in many fall campaigns, with organized labor making campaign contributions contingent on a candidate’s support. Thing is, labor doesn’t like to talk about what the measure actually does — eliminating secret ballots — which suggests a political vulnerability. Candidates who oppose card check and who educate the voters as to the measure’s anti-democratic core could do very well for themselves.

We saw the news about the survey at Marc Ambinder’s blog at The Atlantic, which was then reported at the Las Vegas Sun’s news update blog. Points go to the Sun’s Michael Mishak for explaining what card check actually does: “Specifically, the bill would allow workers to sign a card signifying their preference for a union instead of voting in a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.” Wish more reporters were as careful.

UPDATE (11:05 a.m.) Good blog post at Commentary.

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