Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eliminating the Secret Ballot

Robert left a comment on my last post and quoted Media Matters that said that it is a myth that Card Check would end the secret ballot in unionizing elections. Robert is technically correct. The secret ballot would not be prohibited but it would, for all practical purposes, be eliminated.

Here are how things work now: Union organizers ask workers to sign cards indicating an interest in an election to vote on forming a union. Once 30% of the employees have signed cards, the union can petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a secret ballot election. Both the union and the employer are given the opportunity to argue their case with employees and then workers vote in a federally supervised election. If the union gets more than 50% of the votes, it is certified by the NLRB and the employer must begin collective bargaining.

Here is how it would work under card check: Once Unions get 30% of the workers to sign a card, they could still petition the NLRB to hold a secret ballot vote. The Company would lose the right to request a secret ballot election. If labor gets more than 30% of the employees to sign a card but less than 50%, NLRB could order an election. Once the union organizers get one more than 50% of the employees to sign a card, the NLRB would be required to certify the union and be prohibited from ordering a secret ballot election. There would be no restriction on when or where workers could be solicited to sign a card. The union organizer could come to a workers home at night and ask them to sign. Union organizers could go back to any worker who does not sign and ask them over and over until they do sign.

So, while it would not ban the secret ballot, you can see that it would effectively eliminate it.

To verify that the above summary is correct please research it for yourself. While I do not think Wikipedia is an authoritative source, I often think they are a handy reference to understand an issue. If you want to know more you may want to start there. (link)

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1 comment:

  1. Rod,

    Good job on the summary you posted of the actual issue(s) with the proposed changes. I think this is a much more persuasive and satisfying description of the topic, and it really does open the points up for discussion.

    I don't think that bloggers can repeat this thoroughness of content with each entry about subjects...otherwise each blog entry would be waaaay too long to really be read by most. The new readers and subscribers would appreciate it though, so perhaps an initial blog entry about the subject with this level of detail, and following entries could link to it? More work for you up front in distilling the issues and writing them up, but to me, that lends a certain credibility and respect to the blogger and their opinions.

    When bloggers (or casual pundits) make claims that are out of line with the facts of the matter (source traced claims are facts, conjecture of what's to come is not), then human nature says: she didn't get the facts rights, so how can I trust her statements about repercussions or consequences...if he misleads about what the facts are, then he can't make his case from the facts and has no credibility.

    As for this issue of card check, I am assuming that if there were some oversight of the union-canvasing for card signatures as well as obstructionism from the employer, then a win-win could be formed out of this.

    The principle of the matter has been stated by other commenters that this is based on democracy, and I am confident that commenters on this and similar political blogs that are self-referred to as "conservative" would say keep the government out of business as much as possible, so they may object to oversight.

    I am just not sure it should be up to the employer alone how the voting, as it were, for unionization to occur.