Correction: Arlen Spectre, not Phil.
This week, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spectre said he would cast the deciding vote against the Employee Free Choice Act, a law that would (on its most divisive terms) end an employee’s right to cast a secret ballot when voting whether or not his/her company goes union.
Spectre’s home community consists of lots of union people as well as small businesses and apparently the business leaders convinced him he’d be out of office after the next election if he didn’t play ball. Intimidation? Well, sorta, but intimidation is exactly what the business leaders were trying to prevent in getting Spectre to vote against the EFCA.
Today if a union official walks into your place of work hoping to convince the place to go union, federal law requires a secret ballot be held — you know, like when you vote for the president. But the EFCA wants to change that, and would change to a system whereby employees have to sign a card stating their choice — and it would no longer be secret. The concern is that the new system would leave employees open to intimidation by union reps., who have been known to threaten people into agreeing with them.
And old school intimidation isn’t as old school as you’d think. Some of the less scrupulous union reps have threatened things like burning houses down or even hurting family members — and though this may be hard to believe, it can all be prevented by the secret ballot, say opponents.
Proponents of the bill say that card check (or majority sign-up) does not require the intervention of the National labor Relations Board when unions bargain with employers, though the system currently in place does.