Sen. Reid has said he wants the Senate to vote on the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) this summer. The bill, Big Labor’s highest legislative priority, effectively eliminates secret ballot organizing elections. Instead of letting workers decide whether or not they want union representation in the privacy of the voting booth, EFCA requires workers to publicly announce their choice in front of union organizers.
How does the AFL-CIO justify getting rid of secret ballots? They claim the “system for forming unions is broken” because “employers routinely harass, intimidate, coerce and even fire workers struggling to gain a union.”
Intimidation is a problem, and the solution is to get rid of secret ballots?
Aside from the insanity of the solution, new government data undercuts Big Labor’s claims. National Labor Relations Board figures show that unions win 3 out of every 5 organizing elections – a record that anyone else would be happy with.
And new figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2008 union membership rose for the second year in a row. The number of workers belonging to a union climbed by 428,000 last year. Today 12.4 percent of workers are union members, up from 12.1 percent of workers in 2007 and 12.0 percent of workers in 2006. Union membership increased in both the private and public sectors. If the system for joining unions is broken, you wouldn’t know it from the AFL-CIO’s recent membership increases.
The reality is that the current union organizing system actually favors unions. Unions get to decide when employees vote, may campaign at workers homes, and are free to make promises to workers that employers are legally preventing from matching. That is why unions win 60 percent of organizing elections. Congress has no justification for exposing workers to intimidation, harassment, and coercion by taking away secret ballot organizing elections.