Barack favors 'no vote, no choice' unionism

More EFCA stories: here

Secret ballot union elections under assault by union bigs, Dems

If you're employed as a union executive or an elected Democrat, you probably know all about (and approve of) the latest union assault on democracy, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). But if you're not, you need to familiarize yourself with yet another attempt to transform American capitalism into rampant socialism.

EFCA would replace the secret ballot in union organizing elections with a system of "card checks," where union organizers can pressure workers to publicly sign a card stating they want to join a union. Workers, of course, would never have the option of voting against union membership, and millions of workers could be forced into a union without ever getting the chance to vote on the matter.

A great majority of Democrats, but not all, say they support the idea. Among the "but not all" crowd is a man often called the "most liberal" - until Barack Obama - candidate for president in the country's history, George McGovern. He said in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece the other day that, "(Democrats) cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed."

On general principles, we virtually never agree with Mr. McGovern, but in this case, we applaud him for his courage and perspicacity.
Rejecting the assault

We also applaud the following mostly left-leaning newspapers for their views:

• "The misnamed Employee Free Choice Act also would have denied workers the right to a secret ballot on the question of whether they want to be represented by a union at all." (Denver Post).

• "The House has passed organized labor's top legislative priority, a measure that would make it far easier for workers to organize: They could get a majority of workers to sign cards rather than having to win a contested election." (Washington Post).

• The fight for the survival of labor unions has degenerated into yet another national squabble over the counting of ballots. But union organizers are not asking for paper trails or hand recounts. They want to do away with union ballots altogether, and even those in Congress who are sympathetic to labor's plight ought to think twice about condemning democracy." (St. Petersburg Times).

Public exposure

• "The proposed law, in most cases, would dispense with elections and make the decision of whether to sign a union card the sole and very public determinant of organizing." (San Antonio Express-News).

• "EFCA strikes down a fundamental right of workplace democracy, the secret ballot in representation elections. Instead of protecting workers' right to vote their consciences without fear of union or management retaliation or intimidation, EFCA enables union officials seeking to organize a company for the first time to obtain signatures supporting a representation vote on cards from a majority of employees. (San Francisco Examiner).

• "By eliminating the option of a secret ballot in union organizing votes ... a union would no longer have to win a secret-ballot election to gain the right to represent workers should the employer refuse to certify that bargaining unit. Instead, elections would be replaced by the ‘card check' system." (Rocky Mountain News).

It's estimated that EFCA would disenfranchise 105 million American workers.

Private choices

Need we say that a fundamental principle of American democracy is that votes are private choices? Secret ballot elections ensure that voters can choose the candidate who truly represents them, not the candidate whom their friends or neighbors want them to support.

Without secret ballots, union organizers would know exactly who has signed union cards and who has not. In the past, union organizers have repeatedly approached and pressured-and, in some cases, threatened-reluctant workers. They have also used pro-union co-workers to solicit signatures, putting peer pressure on "holdouts" to change their minds.

As with so many left-oriented ideas, this one would override private, individual choice through coercion, and would place the union movement firmly in the Marxist camp, once and for all. Where does Barack Obama stand on this issue? Guess.


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