Card Check: Executive Order to Require Secret Ballots?

By August 29, 2008Labor Unions

For government contractors…

From today’s WSJ, “White House Prepares Order On Union Organizing“:

The Bush administration is weighing an executive order that would eliminate a union-preferred method of labor organizing at large government contractors, according to people familiar with the situation.

Labor leaders prefer a card-check system in which workers can form a union if a majority of them sign a union-authorization card. Companies generally prefer a secret-ballot election.

The issue has become a factor in some Senate races and the presidential campaign. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, supports legislation favoring the card-check approach. Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, opposes such legislation.

The executive order would require large government contractors to use secret-ballot elections for union organizing or risk losing government contracts, say people familiar with the order. Though companies typically prefer secret ballots, some are willing to accept card checks to avoid a fight.

This is the first we’ve heard of it, so will have to do some more examination. At first blush, it seems a worthy reinforcement of the principle of the private ballot and the protection elections provide for real choice, not intimidation, in the workplace.

And it might be fun to see what stage in labor rhetoric comes after apoplectic.

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