Wash. Times echoed opponents' distortion of EFCA in asserting it would "eliminat[e] the secret ballot"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

The Washington Times reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union." In fact, the Employee Free Choice Act does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; 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."

In a January 5 article, Washington Times reporter S.A. Miller reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) "back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union." In fact, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) that Pelosi and Reid support does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot. 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]. Moreover, supporters of the EFCA say employers often use the election process to delay, obstruct, and intimidate workers in an effort to resist organizing efforts.

The House Committee on Education and Labor has described the claim that "[t]he Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the National Labor Relations Board's 'secret ballot' election process" as a "myth" and stated on its website: "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."

Further, by referring to the EFCA as "a card-check bill" in the Washington Times article, Miller used language frequently employed by opponents of the EFCA.

From the January 5 Washington Times article:

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union.

The bill, dubbed the Employee Free Choice Act, passed the House last year but died in a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate.

The measure is a top priority for the Democrats' union allies. The question is how soon will Democratic leaders bring up the bill and risk political defeat while suffering criticism for kowtowing to union bosses.

Republicans vow to stand firmly against the legislation. Their argument in defense of a secret ballot, which is a cornerstone of American democracy, will take considerable effort to rebuff.

Still, the bill's supporters are confident.

"I have no doubt it will pass and will be signed," said William Samuel, government affairs director for the AFL-CIO.

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
Person
S.A. Miller
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