Fox News' Kelly falsely suggested Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate workers' right to secret-ballot elections
Research ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN
On America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly claimed that "the Democrats and the country's biggest unions today [would be] kicking off an effort to kill a worker's right to a private ballot" and later asserted that the Employee Free Choice Act could be called the "Kill the Private Ballot Doctrine." In fact, EFCA would 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."
During the March 10 edition of Fox News America's Newsroom, co-host Megyn Kelly claimed that "the Democrats and the country's biggest unions today [would be] kicking off an effort to kill a worker's right to a private ballot." Kelly later asserted that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) could be called the "Kill the Private Ballot Doctrine," advancing the myth that EFCA would abolish the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) election process. 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 EFCA say employers often use the election process to delay, obstruct, and intimidate workers in an effort to resist organizing efforts.
Contrary to Kelly's suggestion, 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 majority sign-up process has been a widely used path to union representation since 1935, but workers may only use the majority sign-up process currently if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act puts that choice in the hands of employees rather than their employer."
During his report, correspondent Brian Wilson asserted of the Employee Free Choice Act: "Well, basically, it will radically change the way that unions can be formed. Instead of secret ballots, union organizers can walk up with a card and get the employee's answer in person," echoing the falsehood that a secret-ballot election is currently required before workers can form a union.
From the March 10 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
KELLY: Hi, everybody. We're also following a developing story on Capitol Hill this morning: the Democrats and the country's biggest unions today kicking off an effort to kill a worker's right to a private ballot. This is issue number one for the unions right now, and considering they spent more than $67 million getting Democrats elected last year, the unions want this to be issue number one for the White House and Congress as well.
BILL HEMMER (co-host): In the last few days we've heard from Wal-Mart, dozens of manufacturing firms, and dozens of major American companies, all warning that this dramatic change in workplace rules will hurt the economy, cost jobs, and force companies to move their operations overseas.
Even President Obama's favorite economic guru, Warren Buffett, is against it. So, then, what happens in Washington? Brian Wilson, with us now from our bureau in D.C. Good morning to you, Brian.
WILSON: Good morning, Bill.
HEMMER: Some call this the Employee Free Choice Act. Some call it the "card check" bill. What does it do?
WILSON: Well, basically, it will radically change the way that unions can be formed. Instead of secret ballots, union organizers can walk up with a card and get the employee's answer in person.
Business interests say this allows the union organizers to sort of intimidate the worker to join a union that they may not really want to join. The unions say that this cuts through red tapes; it streamlines the process for forming a union.
But one way or the other, it's the number one priority for the unions, who, as Megyn pointed out, feel they have some payback coming from Democrats for all the work they did and all the money they raised in the last election. Still, business interests will spend millions to try to stop the bill.
HEMMER: Is there any doubt as to where the administration is on this?
WILSON: There is no doubt. The president is on record supporting it. Last week, the secretary of labor and the vice president were in Miami meeting with members of the AFL-CIO executive council as they plotted strategy to get the bill passed.
No, the Obama administration is four-square behind this legislation.
HEMMER: Well, some of these Democratic senators are already saying it's not a good idea -- don't do it now; we should be focused on the economy and improving that and getting --
HEMMER: -- jobs going again in this country. At this hearing today, what's expected, Brian?
WILSON: Well, officially today, I think we're going to see the legislation laid down, but the hearing -- when you are in the majority you get to name the hearings. So the title of today's hearing is "Rebuilding Economic Security, Empowering Workers to Restore the Middle Class." With a title like that, there is no doubt where the Democrats are on this one.
KELLY: Well who's against that?
WILSON: This is going to be -- this is going to be the opening salvo in a battle the likes of which we have not seen in Washington for a while, and Democrats and unions are feeling fairly optimistic. However, the real thing to watch is what happens in the Senate. You need, really, 60 votes in the Senate to make this move forward, and some believe that without Al Franken in the chair, they don't have the 60 votes.
HEMMER: Yeah, they're not there at the moment, you're right about that. We're going to bring on a union leader next hour to debate this then. Brian, thank you for that.
WILSON: You bet.
HEMMER: Brian Wilson, live in D.C. You got it.
KELLY: That naming thing is important in Congress. You know, like, the Fairness Doctrine. Yes, that sounds terrific. Who's not in favor of fairness?
HEMMER: [Inaudible] gonna call it a private ballot, huh?
HEMMER: Private ballot?
KELLY: Right, the "Kill the Private Ballot Doctrine." No one would vote for it. It's very clever.