Card Check: Kirsanow on Mail Balloting

By May 16, 2009Labor Unions

Former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow is also skeptical of the recently bruited “compromise” on the Employee Free Choice Act, writing in National Review’s The Corner a post, “EFCA Compromise Cleverness“:

One would think that any discussions concerning an EFCA “compromise” would include those senators who voted against EFCA the last time it was introduced, but it appears only those who supported EFCA are involved in the negotiations. Consequently, EFCA opponents get little information about the iterations of EFCA currently being considered.

Kirsanow cautions against proposals to replace secret ballot, NLRB-supervised elections with vote-by-mail balloting as no particular improvement on EFCA’s card check provisions.

EFCA supporters will contend that because mail-ballot union elections ostensibly preserve the secret ballot, the concerns of those who oppose card check should be assuaged.

Don’t buy it. For reasons I’ll get into in the near future, mail ballots retain many of the same infirmities as card check. The benefit of such a proposal to EFCA proponents is that they no longer have to defend the EFCA provision that polls most poorly: card check’s elimination of the secret ballot.

The National Journal (subscription required) described mail-in ballots as coming from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), presumably representing a “compromise” with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), point person for EFCA in Senator Kennedy’s absence. In her Daily Kos post describing the provisions, Jane Hamsher, enraged left blogger, inadvertently reaffirms Kirsanow’s observations that mail-in-ballots are a PR/positioning ploy.

As Harkin says, the Feinstein compromise has the advantage of “protecting the secret ballot, so people can do it in private,” which neutralizes that particular right-wing criticism of the bill. 

Got it. “Compromise” = “neutralizing right-wing talking points.”

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