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Friday, February 20, 2009

Democrats: What Is Good For Mexicans Isn't Necessarily Good For Americans

Friday, February 20, 2009 |

Examiner Editorial Special Report:Card Check co-sponsors favor secret ballot for Mexico, but not for U.S. workers
By Kevin Mooney Editorial Staff Writer |
2/20/09 5:44 AM

Democrats leading the charge in 2009 for legislation that critics say will abolish secret ballots for employees voting in U.S. workplace unionization contests signed a 2001 letter urging Mexican officials to protect their workers’ electoral privacy as a defense against union thugs.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA or “Card Check”) would allow labor activists to gather signatures from 51 percent of employees to force a company to accept a unionized workplace. Current law requires a representation election in which workers are guaranteed a secret ballot.

Critics, including officials with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Work Committee and Members of Congress from both parties who oppose EFCA, say the card system invites abuse because workers could be intimidated into signing.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the main “card check bill” sponsor on the House side, and nine other Democratic co-sponsors,” all signed the letter to Mexico demanding that the secret ballot be maintained. Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.),  Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.),  Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.). all joined Miller in both co-sponsoring EFCA and signing the 2001 letter.

“We understand the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose,” Miller and the other card check co-sponsors said in the letter.

“We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and a trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballot in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace,” they said.

Aaron Albright, a spokesperson for Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee, told The Washington Examiner that EFCA has been on the receiving end of “corporate misinformation” and that it will not jeopardize the secret ballot for workers.

“These are two separate situations,” Albright said. “These workers in Mexico were represented by a sham union and they were trying to replace this company dominated union with an independent one. In that circumstance a secret ballot is absolutely warranted and is the same as the law in this country, and it’s going to remain the same as this country. It’s a particular situation that was occurring in Mexico that the letter was addressing; the law will be exactly the same here.”

“My fellow Members of Congress and I wrote to Mexican authorities in 2001 arguing in favor of a secret ballot election in a specific case, where workers were trying to replace a phony, company-dominated union with an independent union,” Baca told The Washington Examiner.  “The Employee Free Choice Act is responsible legislation that is consistent with this principle.”

The 2001 letter makes a strong case for the secret ballot in union representation elections everywhere, said Alexa Marrero, a spokesman for Republican labor committee members.

“I could not have defended secret ballots better myself,” she said. “I think they spell out exactly why voters could be pressured into voting for a union that they don’t support in their own words and I think this is incredibly relevant to the discussion today.”

The public is becoming more aware of the “card check bill’s” true intentions and they understand that it would put secret ballots in jeopardy contrary to what the co-sponsors have argued, Marrero said.

Union officials predicted after the 2008 congressional elections that EFCA would be approved by Congress within its first 100 days of 2009, thanks to expanded Democratic majorities, Marrero said.

“The dynamics have changed and the Democrats seem to be slowly backing away from the bill,” she said. “The more the public knows about this legislation, the less they like it. “Our strategy right from the beginning has been to push as much information out there as we can to let people know what exactly is at stake and what this legislation would do.”



My Thoughts

Typical liberal double standard and hypocrisy. The Big Labor movement is too strong within the party. This letter shows that they know better than to actually put card check into law. We'll see if they really will do things that are better for the American people as a whole or do what is best for them by catering to their very liberal base.

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