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There was BIG news in Washington yesterday:
Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), have introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act.
Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act (SBPA), legislation that will guarantee the right of every American worker to have a secret ballot election on whether to unionize. The bill would guarantee workers the opportunity to cast a secret ballot before a union can be organized.
Seventeen cosponsors have joined DeMint to introduce the bill including Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), John McCain (R-Arizona), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), John Thune (R-South Dakota), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
“Last Congress, union bosses and their Democrat allies tried their best to deny workers their basic American right to a guaranteed secret ballot election,” said Senator DeMint. “Secret ballot voting is a basic American value that we must protect. This bill ensures every American worker gets to cast a secret ballot vote without pressure and fear of retribution from union organizers and coworkers looking over their shoulder. No American should be forced to join or pay dues to a union just to have the opportunity to work and provide for their family.”
Why the Secret Ballot Protection Act?
For the last five years, unions have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, taken from their members’ dues, to pass a bill that effectively eliminates employees’ right to a secret-ballot election on the question of unionization. Through the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act‘s ‘card check’ provision, unions have sought to mandate that employees would automatically become unionized once a union secured 50% + 1 of employees’ signatures on authorization cards (or other form). However, after the Employee
Free ANTI Choice Act passed the House in 2007 (it was later stalled in the Senate), more people began to take notice of the union threat to their right to choose (or not choose) unionization in the workplace.
Secret Ballot Protection Act Ends Labor-Management Collusion
Although card check has always been legal, the denial of employees’ right to vote on unionization has been (and remains) subject to an employer’s cooperation with a union over the issue. While some employers willingly agree to card check (usually after a union conducts a sometimes-job killing “corporate campaign“), most employers (if they have to deal with a union) would rather have employees choose by secret-ballot, as opposed to signatures garnered through union pressure tactics.
Leading the charge. With the threat of card check ever present in Washington, voters in four states (AZ, SC, SD and Utah) took it upon themselves to vote to preserve the right to a secret ballot by passing measures in November. However, on January 14th, the NLRB, citing that the federal law trumps the states in this matter, threatened to sue the four states in federal court if they acted to enforce their voter-approved laws protecting the secret ballot. This has led the states to vow to fight the federal agency in order to protect their states’ constitutions.
While the card check issue was being played out at the state level, the NLRB’s Dana decision also brought card check to the forefront in early December. The NLRB’s decision in Dana affirmed the right of unscrupulous unions and companies to sell out employees’ rights by engaging in pre-recognitional bargaining even before a union is certified as the employees’ agent, in exchange for the employer handing employees over to the union via card check. This legitimizes labor-management collusion through what are known as sweetheart unions—which are good for the unscrupulous unions and companies, but bad for employees.
The Secret Ballot Protection Act: A Beginning…
With President Obama re-nominating recess-appointed SEIU activist attorney Craig Becker to the NLRB, as well as the NLRB’s General Counsel writing rules to give unions access to employees while stripping employers’ of their property rights, the Secret Ballot protection act is not an ends—it is only a beginning. In order to reign in the terror that is being unleashed on job-creating companies and their employees, much more will have to be done in the future ( and, likely, through the new Congress).
As a starting point, though, the Secret Ballot Protection Act will go a long way to ensure that Americans cannot get hoodwinked into unionization through card check.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776