THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD THREATENS TO ELIMINATE A BASIC AMERICAN RIGHT

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has threatened to sue four states for ensuring that workers can enjoy a basic democratic right to cast secret ballots when it come s to the possibility of unionization. The four states, South Dakota, South Carolina, Arizona, and Utah, have mandated the use of secret ballots in union elections.

The NLRB has made the Alice-in-Wonderland assertion that secret ballots violate federal law. Though Congress has refused to pass the Employee Free Choice Act that would have permitted unions to coerce workers into signing “card checks” to ensure union representation, the NLRB has repeatedly looked for opportunities to present unions with opportunities to impose the use of “card checks” on workers, who may not want to join a union.

Indeed, the most effective tactic that workers have against forced unionization is the secret ballot. No union organizer gets to coerce, embarrass, or intimidate a worker to join a union when the workers’ preferences are made oblique by casting secret, anonymous ballots.

We back the efforts of Minnesota Republican Representative John Kline to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with the passage of the Secret Ballot Protection Act. While the Republican dominated House of Representatives very well may pass the amendment, the Democrats in the Senate will not pass it. Corporate America, therefore, will have to wait until the election of 2012 to be delivered from the high-handed, pro-union actions of the NLRB. Meanwhile, it is essential that corporations put in place survival strategies that prevent labor relations problems before they arise.

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