Written by Christianity and the Confusion on January 24th, 2009
By: Nathan Newman

Anti-Union Front Groups Promote Distorted “Save Our Secret Ballots” Initiative Campaigns

With a new administration in Washington, D.C. promising to enact federal labor law reform for the first time in generations, corporations are plowing money into the states in an attempt to undermine workers rights there.  Calling itself the “Save Our Secret Ballot” (SOSB) coalition, this corporate effort is looking to amend the state constitutions of Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada and Utah to block workers from choosing majority sign-up rules to form unions — a clear attempt to thwart implementation of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act which if enacted would give employees the choice of traditional elections run by the federal government or signing authorization cards by a majority of employees.  

The SOSB seems to be a project of the conservative, Arizona-based Goldwater Institute and the national Heritage Foundation (whose representative chairs the SOSB national advisory board).  The SOSB joins a national network of corporate-funded, anti-worker organizations that are seeking to erode labor rights and the freedom to form unions at the federal, state and local level.  (See here for more on the corporate-funded Anti-Union Network).
Ignoring Worker Choice under Employee Free Choice Act:  While the rhetoric of the campaign is to protect workers' right to use a secret ballot in union organizing campaigns, they deliberately ignore the reality that under the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, workers would still have the right to use a secret ballot and would only use majority sign-up rules if a majority of workers chose the option.  What would change under the Employee Free Choice Act is that EMPLOYERS could no longer force a prolonged union election campaign — where it's documented that workers are fired and intimidated — when a majority of workers would prefer a simpler and less intimidating process.

Whether the state ballot initiatives would be legal under federal labor law is unclear.  What is clear though is that the goal of the campaign is to promote the corporate lie that the Employee Free Choice Act would undermine workers' freedom to use or not use secret ballots.

Along with publicly debunking the lies of the SOSB corporate front groups, progressive leaders should push to have their states approve resolutions, such as Wisconsin State Senate Resolution 7 in support of federal passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.


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