Sunday, August 10, 2008

Secret Union Ballots

I wrote before about George McGovern, who seems to be coming around to a more conservative way of viewing things. Or maybe he's just an old-style Democrat, before that party turned anti-war and anti-American.

Anti-American, I said? Yes, you bet. Because when you spit on the sanctity of the secret ballot, and choose instead intimidation, trickery, and pressure, you're being un-American. And with the "card check" proposal that the Congressional Democratic majority wants (to pay off its union backers), the latter is exactly what we'll get with an Obama presidency.

McGovern, at least, is man enough to call his own party out on this disgrace.

There's no question that unions have done much good for this country. Their tenacious efforts have benefited millions of workers and helped build a strong middle class. They gave workers a new voice and pushed for laws that protect individuals from unfair treatment. They have been a friend to the Democratic Party, and so I oppose this legislation respectfully and with care.

To my friends supporting EFCA I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.

Some of the most respected Democratic members of Congress -- including Reps. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, George Miller and Pete Stark of California, and Barney Frank of Massachusetts -- have advised that workers in developing countries such as Mexico insist on the secret ballot when voting as to whether or not their workplaces should have a union. We should have no less for employees in our country.

I worry that there has been too little discussion about EFCA's true ramifications, and I think much of the congressional support is based on a desire to give our friends among union leaders what they want. But part of being a good steward of democracy means telling our friends "no" when they press for a course that in the long run may weaken labor and disrupt a tried and trusted method for conducting honest elections.

If unions are such a good deal for employees, they'll vote for them in private. Given the option, they might even join them or support them financially--even in those states in which they're not legally required to.

1 comment:

Law and Order Teacher said...

I'm still amazed that any American would be OK with this bald-faced coercion. Since when is it fine to intimidate people to get them to join an organization. I have a friend who became a teacher in a district before it became a closed shop and she told me when she was employed she was set upon by union leaders and told she should join the union. As they stared at her she felt the intimidation to join. She did.