Unions put dues-flow ahead of voting rights

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Can't win? Change the rules.

For over 100 years, the United States has celebrated Labor Day as a national holiday meant to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers. American workers have strengthened our country through their dedication and ingenuity, and it is important that Congress continue to allow workers the freedom to innovate and build the nation’s economy. One way is by ensuring that workers have a fair system for determining whether to join a labor union.

As columnist Thomas Sowell recently wrote in the Washington Times, “The problem for labor unions is that private-sector workers increasingly vote against being represented by unions,” which is why, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just over a tenth of private-sector workers are members of labor unions today.

A quarter century ago, 20 percent of workers belonged to a union. Declining union membership is obviously a concern to union officials and organizers; but rather than evolve to meet the changing needs of today’s workers, union officials are looking to return to their glory days by changing the way workers decide whether to accept union representation.

Currently, workers decide to unionize by secret ballot, a practice that allows them to register their opinions anonymously, without fear of intimidation and reprisals (through firings and even physical threats) if their opinions aren’t in agreement with the union or their employer. But, labor unions and some members of Congress want to end the secret-ballot process and replace it with a practice known as “card check.”

Under current law, if more than 50 percent of workers indicate that they want to unionize, their employer can decide to recognize the union, or request a secret-ballot vote under the supervision of the National Labor Relations Board. Under “card check,” union organizers convince workers to sign cards indicating they wish to join a union, but there is no validation through the secret-ballot part of the process. This, of course, denies workers to freely and anonymously use the democratic process to determine unionization.

Supporters of card check have cloaked their proposal in a name that conveys the very opposite intention – the Employee Free Choice Act. By robbing workers of the right to vote by secret ballot, however, the legislation would have the opposite effect: it would eliminate free choice of workers on whether to unionize. And there are plenty of documented cases of union representatives bullying, pressuring and even threatening workers to sign the cards.

Card-check legislation runs counter to the best of our country’s traditions. Throughout its history, Americans have fought to protect and expand voting rights. The Constitution has been amended to give more citizens the opportunity to vote. Congress has passed laws to strengthen the voting rights of Americans. Labor unions, however, don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else and don’t want workers to use private ballots to choose whether or not to join a union.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed card-check legislation, but the Senate did not. Congressional supporters will undoubtedly raise the issue again in the future as Congress welcomes new members. That’s something to keep in mind as you go to the polls this November to cast your secret ballot. How do the candidates stand on this important issue?

- U.S. Senator Jon Kyl is the Assistant Republican Leader and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go! Senator Kyl is clearly speaking the truth. Kyl describes the Union bosses that tried pressuring underage kids to sign contracts (without parental approval) to approve a union during my high school job.

Too bad, they lost.

Senator Kyl is one of America's top 10 Senators, as ranked by TIME. IT SHOWS.

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