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Report from St. Paul: Card Check and Political Accountability

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An ad in Minnesota sponsored by the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, which the NAM helps to lead, is creating quite a buzz at the GOP Convention in the Twin Cities. The ad effectively points out that Senator Norm Coleman has been a staunch supporter of protecting the secret ballot in Union elections, while his Democratic opponent, Al Franken, certainly is not. (For the coalition’s Minnesota microsite, go here.)

The secret ballot issue (also known as “card check”) was a hot topic at a reception sponsored by McGuireWoods Consulting. Former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen was on hand. He is an articulate and passionate advocate of protecting the privacy of a worker’s ballot in union elections. A key spokesman on the issue, Governor Allen believes the issue will resonate with voters all across the country this November.

My long-time friend Mike Thomas, an executive with McGuireWoods, told me the secret ballot issue is reverberating around the Old Dominion like few others he has seen. Makes sense, since Virginia considers itself the Cradle of Democracy in the New World.

Virginia Republican Senate candidate Jim Gilmore, also in attendance, noted he has become aware that the card check issue is emerging as an issue in Congress and that he is a strong opponent of the card check legislation.

AFL-CIO Big Labor Bosses in Denver last week declared they will spend over $50 million to advance candidates who pledge to end the secret ballot in union elections and other Big Labor priorities. That’s why the NAM and many other business associations are working hard to defeat this misguided legislation. Its defeat will remain a key priority for manufacturers and the 14 million workers we represent in the next Congress.

(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons has been blogging from both the Democratic Convention in Denver and the Republican Convention in St. Paul. He brings not just expertise as trade association leader, but also as the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and chief of staff for Senator Allen, both during his time in Congress and as Virginia’s governor.)