Denying 'no-vote' unionism in Hawaii

It is amusing that defenders of Hawaii's card check bill list protection from being bullied as one of its benefits, since the purpose of this bill is to make a public worker’s personal decision to join a union or not open to public scrutiny and judgment. How would Rep. Sylvia Luke’s card check bill, or its national version, the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), make the choice safer or “freer” when both the employer and the union bosses are watching and wielding the power to intimidate the voters?

The right to a private ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy. For well over a century it has been the American standard at the ballot box, allowing voters to make tough and even controversial election choices without fear of reprisal or intimidation. This fundamental right is under assault in the United States Congress and in several states, including Hawaii.

Perhaps the most telling statistic comes from the union members themselves. Although labor unions claim they are pro-worker, a private poll shows that 91 percent of union members oppose the loss of a right to a private ballot union election. Apparently, this is not enough for the Hawaii legislature to vehemently reject this legislation and protect the workers of their states.

Rep. Luke cannot really want perspective union members and the overall Hawaii workforce to be coerced and intimidated into joining a union can she? In listening to organized labor and by sponsoring H.B. 2974, she is doing just that.

It is of grave importance that Hawaii, and all states reject any and every for of coercion that is masquerading as “free choice.” The only free choice comes when workers have the fundamental right, and indeed freedom, to have a private ballot vote when deciding on union membership.

Brian M Johnson is the Director of Policy at the Alliance for Worker Freedom, a special project of Americans for Tax Reform based in Washington, D.C.


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