11/21/08

Good enough for lawmakers but not for workers

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Dems, Obama want to force disinterested workers to pay union dues

House Democrats on Wednesday used a secret ballot to indicate their choice for the next chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee. If the secret ballot is good for lawmakers, why would those same Democrats deny it to employees taking part in union elections, House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) wondered.

“The secret ballot election is a cornerstone of our American democracy. If it is good enough for House Democrats to rely on during [Wednesday’s] high-stakes vote, shouldn’t it be good enough for millions of American workers across America who value their workplace privacy?” Boehner asked.

In Wednesday’s 25-22 secret ballot vote, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee recommended that Rep. Henry Waxman of California head the energy committee in the 111th Congress. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan is the current chairman and he is vying to keep the job.

A final decision will come Thursday, when the House Democratic Conference votes.

Regardless of who gets the job, there’s an irony here, Rep. Boehner said.

“Earlier in this Congress, 228 House Democrats voted to expose workers’ votes in union organizing elections to everyone – their employers, their co-workers, and union bosses. Today, those very same Members are enjoying secret ballot rights that Americans have come to take for granted in a hotly contested race for a powerful Committee chairmanship. What message does this send to workers across our country?” Boehner asked.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"


For decades, union elections have been decided by a secret ballot vote. At the beginning of the 110th Congress, however, House Democrats passed the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800), which would establish a “card check” process in which workers would have to sign their names to union authorization cards for all to see.

Critics argue that card checks would make workers vulnerable to coercion, pressure, and intimidation and threats – from either management or labor unions, depending on how they voted.

President-elect Obama and House Democratic leaders support the bill that would make it much easier for unions to organize businesses.

“House Republicans will stand firmly against the decidedly undemocratic card check – and strongly for democracy in the workplace,” Boehner said.

An AFL-CIO official told the Washington Times he’s sure the Employee Free Choice Act will pass Congress and be signed into law by Barack Obama.

The card-check bill is "integral to fixing the economy," William Samuel told the newspaper in an interview published on Nov. 20. "If we are going to have a consumer-led recovery, workers are going to have to earn more."

(cnsnews.com)

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