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An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Support a Secret Ballot in Union Elections!
February 25, 2009
Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in strong support of the "Secret Ballot Protection Act of 2009," introduced by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the Senate and Representatives Kline (R-MN), Price (R-GA), and McKeon (R-CA) in the House. American workers should be allowed to make decisions about joining a union in private, free of retribution from their employers and organized labor representatives alike. These bills contain language that would enshrine into law the right of workers to have a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
The private ballot is one of the most important aspects of our democracy because it protects voters in any election from coercion. In pushing for passage of the "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA), some special interest groups and Members of Congress seek to undermine that concept. In elections on union membership, EFCA would essentially replace federally supervised private ballots with the "card check" process, which allows unions to be certified simply by securing the signatures of the majority of employees on a card. As a result, card check would divulge every worker's vote to their employer, to union organizers, and to coworkers. We wouldn't tolerate this anti-democratic process in a political election, and we shouldn't tolerate it in a union election. That is why passage of the Secret Ballot Protection Act is so vitally important.
Labor interests claim that card check is needed to fend off interference from employers in union organizing. But stripping employees of their right to privacy is no way to eliminate outside influences. If coercion exists and the National Labor Relations Act is inadequate to combat it, then the remedy is to modify its enforcement provisions directly without gutting worker privacy in the process.
Congress must take this opportunity to place into permanent law the guarantee of a supervised secret ballot in union elections. NTU strongly supports the Secret Ballot Protection Act. Any roll call votes on this legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.