7/26/08

Mary Landrieu, Louisiana DINO

More EFCA stories: here

Democrat wants to end secret-ballot elections; 'We can't win that way anymore'

Most Louisianans have never heard of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that could soon become federal law. But if you believe the private ballot is an essential component of a free and fair election, you should be aware of how this legislation rewrites the rulebook for union organizing.

Under current law, when a union proposes to represent a company’s employees as their collective bargainer, a federally supervised private ballot election is held to determine whether the workplace will be unionized. This ensures that everyone can vote according to their conscience and without fear of intimidation from union officials, peers or employers.

The EFCA, however, seeks to skip the private ballot election process, replacing it with something called a "card check." This method makes it possible for a union to be established by pressuring a majority of the employees to sign authorization cards. Once that threshold has been reached, the other employees are cut out of the decision making process.

Not surprisingly, unions are driving this bill. Concerning private ballot elections, United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Joe Hansen has noted, "We can’t win that way anymore." The AFL-CIO admits that unions need signatures from at least 75% of the unit to have a better than 50% chance of winning the election. In other words, getting signatures is easier than getting votes.

Unions have a right to organize, but a worker’s ability to choose should not be impaired for political reasons.

Employees have the right to make an informed decision regarding union representation and they should be able to make this decision in private, free from coercive tactics.

While titling this the Employee Free Choice Act may have been an unintentional joke, here is the ultimate irony: By supporting this bill, some of our legislators could subvert the election process that put them into office.

One of this bill’s supporters is Senator Mary Landrieu. Does she believe that her next election should be conducted with signature cards?

Assuming she does not, perhaps she should explain why the private ballot guaranteed to her supporters should be denied to workers when they make important workplace decisions.

(houmatoday.com)

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