Hill falsely claims Employee Free Choice Act "robs workers" of secret ballot

››› ››› HANNAH DREIER

The Hill falsely asserted that the Employee Free Choice Act "robs workers of the right to a secret ballot." In fact, it is employers, not workers, who have the right to demand a secret ballot; the bill would strip employers of that right.

A June 7 Hill article falsely asserted that the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the right to form or join a union if a majority of workers sign a card stating they want to do so, "robs workers of the right to a secret ballot." In fact, it is employers, not workers, who have the right to demand a secret ballot; the bill would strip employers of that right.

The article, written by reporter Reid Wilson, stated: "Polling on the Employee Free Choice Act reveals murky results that favor whichever side is best able to frame it. Supporters brag that unions remain popular overall, and that legislation making it easier for unions to form and workers to make more money wins voter approval. Opponents point out that a provision that robs workers of the right to a secret ballot is widely unpopular, and that if the measure is portrayed as a job-killer it loses support."

But The Hill is misrepresenting the bill. As The Christian Science Monitor has noted, "The proposed law gives workers a choice of forming a union through majority sign-up ('card check') or an election by secret ballot." Indeed, as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization" [emphasis added]. Employee Free Choice Act supporters say employers often use the election process to delay, obstruct, and intimidate workers in an effort to resist organizing efforts.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor and a leading proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act, has addressed the "myth" that the bill eliminates the secret ballot:

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the National Labor Relations Board's "secret ballot" election process.

FACT: The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the National Labor Relations Board election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply enables workers to also form a union through majority sign-up if a majority prefers that method to the NLRB election process. Under current law, workers may only use the majority sign-up process if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice -- whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up -- a majority choice of the employees, not the employer.

Media Matters for America has noted that numerous media figures have advanced falsehoods about the Employee Free Choice Act, including the myth that the bill would eliminate the secret ballot.

From the June 7 Hill article:

The next governor of Virginia will have little impact on the heated debate over the Employee Free Choice Act, but that's not stopping one candidate from using the controversial issue to win headlines.

Former Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) has spent several weeks repeatedly bringing up the legislation, the so-called "card check" measure that would make it easier for unions to form. At a time when Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is hemorrhaging jobs, McDonnell casts card check as bad for businesses that need all the help they can get to begin rehiring employees.

[...]

McDonnell has also tried to use the issue to paint a contrast between himself and the three Democrats -- former state Del. Brian Moran (D), state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe (D). McDonnell's campaign has used web videos of the Democratic candidates explaining their position on the issue.

Polling on the Employee Free Choice Act reveals murky results that favor whichever side is best able to frame it. Supporters brag that unions remain popular overall, and that legislation making it easier for unions to form and workers to make more money wins voter approval. Opponents point out that a provision that robs workers of the right to a secret ballot is widely unpopular, and that if the measure is portrayed as a job-killer it loses support.

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
The Hill
Person
Reid Wilson
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.