I saw this yesterday at the Corner, meant to bring it up, forgot until I read Instapundit today: not only is Al Sharpton against Card Check, he’s against it for the very sensible reason that the secret ballot is a potent tool against disenfranchisement. From the transcript:
Sylvester [Smith: To protect her job, so I want to make it clear to your listeners that I understand that there are some nefarious employers out there that we need to be protected from but at the same time really, Sharpton, this deal goes too far. Again, back to my experiences as a young African American growing up in south Arkansas, my mother ran for state legislature in 1990, an African American woman, and in her bid to be the first African American member of the state legistlature she ran into a very strong opposition from the local establishments including the business community and she had people come to her, both white and black, and say my boss told me that if I vote for you I will lose my job, but there is a God above and I know that he’s going to protect me and I know that I have the right to go into that booth and pull the lever for the person I believe in and I did it for you. Now, this whole concept of eliminating the secret ballot is contrary to everything that people like yourself fought for in the civil rights movement to give African American the right to vote, okay. And the reason that the secret ballot is so important is because coercion is very real, Rev. Sharpton, and this whole concept of a card-check system basically means if you want the union you sign the card, and it’s there for somebody to check. So, regardless of whether or not you’re for or against the union, let’s say you’re for and you sign this card and the union fails. Well you’re boss will have a way to check that card to see who was against him and then that opens you up to some coercive activities or retribution from your boss.
Al Sharpton: Yeah, well, what I don’t understand about it which is why I’m in the campaign is why wouldn’t those of us who support workers being protected, why would we not want their privacy protected. I mean why would we want them opened up to this kind of possible coercion?
Ed Morrissey has more. He also notes that: a), a public process like Card Check could actually put pro-union workers at jeopardy if the unionization effort fails; and b), that it’s the people who actually own businesses who seem to be worrying most about point a). Not surprising: union fatcats are so frantic about the way that they’ve driven the labor movement into the ground that they’re in full-bore Stupidity Mode.
Look, I think that Al Sharpton is at best an untrustworthy sort; unlike Mickey Kaus, I’m not going to pretend that I have a Strange New Respect for the man. But he’s right: secret ballots exist because men are not angels, and should be led not into temptation. Where it’s practiced, its existence ends most political blood feuds before they even start, and I am not using the term in anything except literal terms. And if you don’t think that union disputes can devolve down to an actual state of low-grade civil war, I invite you to read up on European history.
For that matter (and more bluntly): if we were going to recreate the medieval guild system anyway, then there was no reason for most of our ancestors to move out of Europe in the first place.