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A Tale of Two Labor Bills: How Republicans and Democrats Differ on Workplace Democracy
One of the most heated debates in Washington this year has surrounded the “card check” bill, legislation that would effectively do away with secret ballots in workplace organizing elections. Officially called the Employee Free Choice Act – a misleading name for legislation if ever there were one – the proposal illustrates an unfortunate partisan divide that places Democrats on the side of union bosses, a powerful political ally. In response, Republicans have championed alternative legislation – the Secret Ballot Protection Act – that is designed to permanently protect workers’ rights and defend against the job-killing, privacy-ending elements of EFCA.
The Employee Free Choice Act: Ending Secret Ballot Elections in the Workplace, Making a Worker’s Private Vote Public
The right to a private ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy. For centuries, Americans have fought for the right to vote…and the right to keep that vote to themselves. Now, congressional Democrats – themselves elected in secret ballot elections – are preparing to strip men and women of their right to a private ballot in the workplace. What could be more undemocratic than that?
The Employee Free Choice Act – Providing Employees Anything BUT Free Choice
Forced Government Contracts – Just Another Way to Deny Workers’ Rights
Hypocrisy Runs Rampant Among Those Aiming to Kill Private Voting Rights
There is NO COMPROMISE When It Comes to Workers’ Rights
The Secret Ballot Protection Act: Guaranteeing Free Choice With the Privacy and Protection of a Secret Ballot
The secret ballot is a hallmark of our democratic society. It guarantees that individuals can vote their conscience, free from public pressure, coercion, or the threat of retribution. The secret ballot is vital to individual freedom – and yet it is under assault.
American workers in particular are seeing their right to a secret ballot erode. Under current federal labor law, when a union attempts to organize a workplace, workers ultimately choose whether or not they wish to be represented through a private, federally supervised secret ballot election. However, in a minority of organizing efforts, businesses and unions decide not to use the secret ballot, allowing workers to be organized by the far more troubling “card check” method.
Under a card check, union organizers ask workers to publicly declare whether or not they support a union by asking them to sign an authorization card. When a simple majority of workers have been convinced – by their free choice or not – to sign a card, the union is automatically certified. Workers are not able to vote by secret ballot.
There is a move afoot in Congress to impose mandatory “card check” recognition for all workplace organizing efforts. That means workers will never again be guaranteed the right to a secret ballot election; instead, as the legislation makes clear, a union will be recognized as soon as a majority of workers have been publicly convinced to sign the cards. Legislation is needed to reverse this dangerous trend, and to create a firewall against the radical “card check” movement that would permanently eliminate secret ballots in the workplace. That legislation is the Secret Ballot Protection Act.
The Secret Ballot Protection Act ensures that no one – not unions, not companies – can deny workers the right to a secret ballot. The legislation is simple, but vital. It guarantees that all future workplace organizing drives will be resolved with the protections of a secret ballot. Rather than subjecting workers to intimidation and possible retribution that could come from a “card check” process, a federally supervised secret ballot election will be guaranteed.
It has been estimated that “card check” legislation would disenfranchise 105 million American workers. The Secret Ballot Protection Act would defend these workers and ensure the secret ballot remains the standard for protecting workers’ rights.
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