TCS Daily


Miller Time - Killing Secret Ballots

By Joel Mowbray - March 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Democrats want to end the secret ballot elections—for unions. And barring a miracle, they'll take a major first step today toward realizing that goal.

The Orwellian "Employee Free Choice Act," sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), would actually take away the free choice most workers now enjoy to vote on unionization. Instead, unions would issue what are called "card checks," forms with no anonymity in which people declare that they wish to be represented by a particular union.

Here's how the law would work: If the union can get over 50% of a company's employees into signing cards, then all the workers would be unionized. Not only would no secret ballot election be required, but one could not even be requested by the employer or employees.

The full House is voting today on Miller's bill, but the outcome is not in doubt. There are 233 co-sponsors, almost all Democrats. This is what happens when Big Labor conditions its electoral support on voting to do away with the secret ballot vote. No companion bill has yet been introduced in the Senate, but last Congress Sen. Edward Kennedy's (D-Mass.) very similar bill attracted 44 co-sponsors.

How do Democrats dare call this a "free choice" act? Big Labor and various Democrats have offered two main justifications: 1) forcing employees to wait weeks or months before voting in a government-supervised election is an unnecessary delay when over half the workforce has signed cards, and 2) during the waiting time for an election, employers have free reign to "scare" employees out of supporting the union.

The AFL-CIO has gone even further than most Congressional Democrats, calling unionization elections "undemocratic." The union umbrella organization claims that the rules are stacked against them, even though anecdotal evidence suggests many corporations allow outside organizers—people who do not work for the company—to enter their private property and chide workers to sign pledge cards.

Perhaps the real reason unions consider elections "undemocratic" is that they lose almost half of them. And those are only the elections that actually happen. Currently, unions can call for an election if 30% of workers sign a petition or a card supporting a unionization vote. But when a union doesn't see enough momentum heading into the balloting, it often rescinds its request to save face. Nearly half of filed-for elections are canceled.

In other words, unions win somewhat more than one-fourth of all elections for which they file.

Unions have not fared well in secret ballot elections, in fact, for several decades. Private sector union membership has fallen from 36% in 1953 to under 8% today.

Since current law doesn't guarantee workers secret ballot elections—it is only the employer who can request one—it's little surprise that unions have shifted strategies in recent years. Unions now focus on campaigns to organize workers whose employers, usually because of strong-arm tactics, agree to forgo secret ballot elections. Estimates vary, but somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of all new union members are added to the rolls through card checks, meaning without an election.

Common sense dictates that many workers feel compelled to sign cards because their colleagues already have, or more ominously, because pro-union activists are making life miserable. Several people who submitted written testimony to a House committee told of being harassed by unions, constantly around the office and even at home.

"We have many clients who have been deceived, brow-beaten, or worse by union activists into signing pledge cards," notes Stefan Gleason, vice-president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which provides free legal assistance to employees abused by unions.

The AFL-CIO even acknowledged in 2001, in a legal brief filed with the National Labor Relations Board, that "pro-organizing union sentiment" can appear greater than it actually is because of "group pressure." The mega union also conceded, in part by quoting an old NLRB ruling, that the "election system provides the surest means of avoiding decisions which are 'the result of group pressures and not individual decision.'"

What's the difference six years later? In 2001, the AFL-CIO was fighting to preserve mandatory secret ballot elections—but only for votes to de-certify the union. Ironically, Big Labor has not asked to eliminate secret ballot elections when employers or employees wish to disband the union.

Another past supporter of mandatory secret ballot elections is Miller, now the chief sponsor of the bill to eliminate them. In August 2001, Miller was one of 16 House Democrats who signed a letter sent to Mexican officials stating, "The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may otherwise not choose."

House Democrats today will almost certainly embrace Miller's 2007 view of the secret ballot, but there's still time for the Senate to preserve what he wanted in 2001.


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5 Comments

This is the way it works in Vegas.
"Here's how the law would work: If the union can get over 50% of a company's employees into signing cards, then all the workers would be unionized. Not only would no secret ballot election be required, but one could not even be requested by the employer or employees."

When the Luxor opened in the early '90s, this is the way it worked.
Fortunatly, NV is a right to work state so membership was not mandatory.
In my opinion, the big casinos wanted the unions to manage the health care plan and benefits so they would not have to be bothered.
One smaller casino in NW Vegas tried following the law, secret ballots and all. Tires were slashed, threats were made.
Those union types are such fine folks!

Unions have always been about force
they are just a little more blatant than usual.

Not changed in 30+yrs, just as devient, and dangerous
From a personal knowledge yet not of myself.

Close to the above time frame, a man worked for a freight company using semi(s) to haul.

The company as usual was not treating employees right, which is as we all know the reason some(employees) try to bring in the union.

This person informed others that could be trusted that they needed to watch the safety of their families while this was going through the phases. This person was not one trying to get union in. So the families knew it was not a threat from said person, but a warning from what was being passed around(like unions do).

In conclusion in this thread; If families needed to watch their backs back then and things are worse in ways now.
Do we all need to be packin protection when our company tries to do this or any other company. Most likely yes..

As I have said in other postings. This is what the liberal democrats do and have been for 40+ yrs, and is reason this country is in the fix it is in. Republicans and Democrats have both put forth and passed damaging legislation for years.

All that is going to happen now is: The people will see once again what the Demos do and again either the Repubs will take control of offices again or the people will totally blow the worlds mind and start voting in (independents). Then as added insult we will see demos and repubs (become independents all of a sudden). As predictable as the sun rises and sets.

Of course
The left loves to talk about "leadership" or "idealism", but when that doesn't work, they reserve the right to say "because I'm the parent, thats why".

What EFCA means to 92.6% of American private sector workers...
Here's our take on what it meanst to the American worker...

Dear fellow American worker:

On Thursday, March 1, 2007, the United States House of Representatives voted 241-185 to strip you of some of your basic American freedoms. While many of us are used to politicians doing things that take away our freedoms, this action may very soon cost you a lot money and, for an untold number of you, it will likely cost you your jobs.

On Thursday, due to the political strong-arming from big union bosses, the House of Representatives voted to pass HR 800. HR 800 is a bill designed to take away your right as a worker to vote in a secret-ballot election about whether or not you want to become unionized. Once you are unionized, HR 800 also forces your company into a union contract imposed by government-appointed bureaucrats who have no idea about the competitive nature of your company’s business.

Most of us remember what has happened to big industries and the jobs that were dominated by big union bosses—and we know where they are today…Most are gone.

While HR 800 still needs to be passed through the Senate and signed into law by the president before it becomes effective, here’s how the House of Representatives has just stripped you of your basic democratic rights:

In order to replenish their depleted union ranks, union organizers—the paid salespeople of labor unions—can target you and your co-workers for unionization. Once you become targeted, there are a variety of tactics they can deploy to lure you into placing your name and signature on a little 3” by 5” card called a union authorization card.

For example:

Some union organizers will claim that the little card is just to get you information or to be on a mailing list.

Others will claim the union’s authorization card will get you more money or better benefits or job security.

Some union organizers will mount larger offensives called tag teams to wear you or your co-workers down into signing a union authorization card.

The reality is, a union authorization card is the union’s golden ticket to get into your pocket and into the company you work for.

You see, if 50% plus one of your co-workers succumb to union pressure (or fall for their tactics) and sign a union authorization card, you no longer have the right to vote in a secret-ballot election… You will have just become unionized, under HR 800.

At that point, there will be a set of negotiations that will be government-imposed between your company and the union. If there is no agreement reached after 120 days (four months), a government-appointed arbitrator will bind you and your company into a contract with the union.

Again, you will not have the right to vote to accept or reject this government-imposed contract.

For those of you who work in the 28 states where it is legal to require workers to pay dues to the union to remain employed, you may also be forced to pay the union hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per year or you will be fired from your job.

In addition, if the government-imposed contract jeopardizes your company’s ability to compete in the marketplace, your company may be forced to lay you off, to outsource your job, or just close like so many other unionized companies have in the last 25 years.

As a courtesy, you may click here to view the list of US Representatives who have done this to you and your job. While there is little you can do about Thursday’s vote in the US House of Representatives now, you can still write to your Senator to voice your opposition to taking away your American freedoms and possibly your job.

For more information, and to voice your opposition to stripping you of your rights to the US Senate, please visit EmployerReport.com or myprivateballot.com.

Very truly yours,

EmployerReport.com

"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." - Thomas Paine

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