Friday, August 8, 2008

George McGovern agrees with Republicans on the importance of the secret ballot

One of the litmus tests for labor unions across the country right now is whether a politician supports them in their bid to eliminate secret ballot elections for workers.

That we should even have to be debating whether secret ballots are a good idea gives an indication of how aggressive labor unions are in trying to protect their shrinking power base -- and how craven the Democratic Party is in the face of this offensive.

But if you don't believe Montana Headlines because of our primitive and reactionary ways, then maybe you might believe ur-liberal George McGovern?

As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as "card-check." There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

It doesn't get much plainer than that. The entire editorial is worth reading.

Long-time readers of Montana Headlines know that we are supportive of the role of labor unions and the ability to unionize. It is essential to the working of a free society for management and labor to be able to come to private agreements -- which is why much "right to work" legislation is worth opposing.

Lefty bloggers here in Montana have given our own Congressman Denny Rehberg grief for refusing to deny American workers the right to a secret ballot. We're glad to see that St. George has joined Denny and most Republicans, and is now riding in to help slay the particularly odious dragon of EFCA.

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