Viewpoint: Unions use card check to force you to think again… and againFormer Democrat presidential nominee and liberal stalwart George McGovern had this to say to his friends in the labor movement: “Voting is an immense privilege."
By: Michele Bachmann, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
Former Democrat presidential nominee and liberal stalwart George McGovern had this to say to his friends in the labor movement:
“Voting is an immense privilege.
“That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.
“The legislation is called the “Employee Free Choice Act,” and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.”
(“My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots,” Wall Street Journal, Aug. 8, 2008).
Sen. McGovern is talking about legislation that is rifling its way through Congress right now, buoyed by strong support from the Obama Administration, big labor and Democrat leadership in Congress. In fact, Card Check legislation is expected to be passed and law by summer’s end.
I strongly oppose this legislation that would force unionization — and union dues — on workers by stripping them of their right to a secret ballot.
In fact, last year, I joined with organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — as well as groups that serve many unionized employees like the Fraternal Order of Police, the American Hospital Association and others — in opposing this bill.
Currently, employees can vote on union organization with a secret ballot, and they can reject it if they so choose. Under Card Check legislation, if union organizers collect enough cards from employees indicating interest in a union, the union would be certified.
Employees would be forced to make a decision about whether or not to support union organization right in front of their co-workers and right in front of the organizers. Under current law, such decisions are made by secret ballot with full confidentiality.
I have co-sponsored alternative legislation, the Secret Ballot Protection Act that would guarantee a worker’s right to a secret vote instead of allowing tactics of coercion and force to decide their employment future. And, there is much evidence of the use of intimidation, discrimination and even harassment in such circumstances.
In fact, many of the very same members of Congress that support Card Check have fought hard to support workers’ right to a secret ballot overseas for precisely these reasons.
In 2001, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, George Miller (D-CA), signed a letter to the government of Mexico, saying:
“[We] feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose… We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and a trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballot in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace.”
While I would like to think that no threatening practices would happen under the Card Check method, don’t be fooled by a seemingly virtuous name that “sticks it to the man.”
There are no protections for the average American worker under this legislation, which the administration and its supporters deem a necessary tool to rebuild the working middle class.
The Employee Free Choice Act is more about freedom for bullies and discontented union leaders than the freedom of our unalienable right to a confidential vote.
Your right to a secret ballot is one of the most cherished of American freedoms and it deserves universal protection from threats and intimidation.
U.S. Rep. Bachmann (R-Stillwater) represents Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. She can be reached at (202) 225-2331 or (651) 731-5400. Her Woodbury office is located at 6043 Hudson Road, Suite 330.