Labor-state Gov. rejects 'no-vote' unionism

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle today announced that she will veto a bill that would eliminate a worker’s right to a secret ballot election when deciding whether or not to have union representation in the workplace. The vetoed measure will be sent to the Legislature tomorrow. HB2974 HD2, commonly referred to as the “card check” bill, would change the union certification process by eliminating the secret ballot election and mandate timeliness for facilitating the initial collective bargaining agreement between an employer and the new collective bargaining representative.

Under current law, a secret ballot process is used to determine whether a majority of employees desire collective representation. This process provides employees anonymity and the opportunity to consider and weigh individual choices after having had the time to be fully informed by both the labor organization and employer of the advantages and disadvantages of being collectively represented.

This bill replaces that process with one in which organizers would only need to gather signatures from a majority of employees indicating they were in favor of forming a union. The bill does not specify how or when signatures can be obtained and, as a result, there is no way to determine whether a worker’s signature was given freely, without pressure, coercion or intimidation from fellow employees or labor representatives.

“I support the rights of workers to form or join labor organizations and have collective bargaining representation, but this bill would deny workers their privacy and right to a confidential vote when making that decision,” said Governor Lingle. “Maintaining the secret ballot is the best way to protect workers’ privacy and to ensure workers have the ability to vote their conscience without fear of repercussion or retaliation. There is no compelling justification for replacing a fair, democratic process with one that has the potential to erode a worker’s existing rights and protections under the law.”

HB2974 HD2 has the potential to impact employees of most agriculture businesses in the state; non-retail businesses with less than $50,000 in annual sales; retail businesses including restaurants with less than $500,000 in annual sales; many small, non-profit organizations; day care centers with less than $250,000 in gross annual revenues; hotels, motels apartments and condominiums with less than $500,000 in annual revenues; taxicab companies with less than $500,000 in total annual revenues; law firms and legal aid programs with less than $250,000 in gross annual revenues; art museums with less than $1 million in gross annual revenues; colleges, universities and secondary schools with less than $1 million in annual revenues; and newspapers with less than $200,000 in annual revenues.


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