So the poodle and his puppy claim to be for the working stiff? Fat chance! Both have plan to file a brief with the National Labor Relations Board to do away with the secret ballot on unionization. Below is the full scuttlebutt. - Sailor
Fair CommentKerry and Edwards Join Legal Battle To Deny Workers Secret Ballot on Unionization
Posted July 20, 2004
By Justin Hakes
In an issue emerging as a top election-year priority for organized labor officials, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) have joined with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) to file formal arguments at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) urging the agency governing America's private-sector workplaces to deny employees access to the secret-ballot election process when choosing whether to unionize.
"For two politicians who claim they'll stick up for America's workers, taking away basic freedoms is a strange way to show it," says Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
Kerry, Edwards, Kennedy, 14 other senators, and 31 congressmen joined to file the amicus curiae brief, perhaps the most noteworthy of dozens filed last week by representatives of management, unions, employees, public-policy groups, and members of congress arguing either in opposition to, or in favor of, the plight of disenfranchised employees aided by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys.
The Board invited the briefs after voting 3-2 to determine the enforceability of increasingly common arrangements intended to limit further employee freedom to determine whether union officials are authorized to represent them. These arrangements, sometimes called "card check" or "neutrality agreements," involve high-pressure card solicitation drives that frequently result in complaints of union coercion from rank-and-file workers.
Replacing the less-abusive secret-ballot election process with "card check" has become the No. 1 requirement of candidates to obtain Big Labor's support in the 2004 elections.
According to the AFL-CIO's recent statement to BNA's Daily Labor Report, "we don't have any [election] issue that's a litmus test, but this is as close as it gets." According to the AFL-CIO, more than 80 percent of newly organized employees each year are already unionized through the controversial "card check" process while the traditional election process, favored by federal labor policy and the courts, is used far less frequently.
"Having trouble selling even a bare majority of workers on the merits of unionization, union officials are resorting to the in-your-face 'card check' process to intimidate workers into supporting a union," says Gleason.
Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), a signatory to a separate congressional brief and lead sponsor of legislation to reduce "card check" organizing abuses, says "Hard-working folks deserve the right to a fair and secret election, not the threats, arm-twisting, and shakedown tactics that come with 'card check' campaigns.
"The lead consolidated cases at the NLRB, brought by Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, arise out of the automotive industry where suppliers have cut deals with union officials to waive the secret-ballot election process and to assist in pressuring employees to sign union authorization cards. The coercively obtained cards were then counted as "votes" in favor of authorizing the union to act as the employees' monopoly bargaining agent.
These pacts also typically require employers to hand over their employees' private information (including home addresses) to union organizers, subject employees to unsolicited "home visits," and permit wide access to company facilities, resulting in employee complaints of browbeating and other harassment.
Jason Hakes is a spokesman for The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting over 150,000 employees in nearly 300 cases nationwide. Its web site is www.nrtw.org.