Quick Fact: George Will claimed EFCA would "abolish workers' rights to secret ballots"


George Will asserted in a Washington Post column that "organized labor's 'card check' legislation" would "abolish workers' rights to secret ballots in unionization elections." In fact, currently it is employers, not workers, who have the right to demand a secret ballot; the Employee Free Choice Act would strip employers of that right; employees would be able to utilize the "secret ballot" election process.

From Will's January 29 Washington Post column:

Such speeches must be listened to with a third ear that hears what is not said. Unmentioned was organized labor's "card check" legislation to abolish workers' rights to secret ballots in unionization elections. Obama's perfunctory request for a "climate bill" -- the term "cap-and-trade" was as absent as the noun "Guantanamo" -- was not commensurate with his certitude that life on Earth may drown in rising seas.

Fact: EFCA would strip employers, not workers, of the right to demand a secret ballot

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.

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
The Washington Post
George F. Will
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