Saturday, February 22, 2014


Dear Readers:

Once again my representative, Dr. Phil Roe, has some words of wisdom regarding the unions push for Check Card.

Secret Ballot Protection Act Will Protect American Workers

Last Friday evening, Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga voted 712 to 626 not to join the United Automobile Workers (UAW) labor union. Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant began production in 2011 and employs around 1,600 Tennesseans. The company is reportedly weighing the possibility of manufacturing a new midsize SUV at its Chattanooga plant, a move that would likely bring more jobs to the state.  

Last year, labor unions represented only 11.3 percent of U.S. workers, and the private-sector membership rate was just 6.7 percent. In 1983, unions represented 20 percent of American workers. With union membership on the decline, many fear the administration and union leaders will continue their push for legislation to authorize union organizing by card check. Under this system, a union would be recognized if a majority of workers sign a card indicating their desire to be unionized—a secret ballot vote is never taken. Some workers have indicated this leads to intimidation during union elections or retribution for workers that publicly oppose the union.

To me, there is no right more precious for any American than the right to a secret ballot. It’s how we elect the President of the United States, members of Congress and even some union leaders. Without secret ballots, workers can be pressured to vote a certain way. Card check causes a high pressure, one-sided sales pitch, and union leaders have been very vocal in their desire to grow their memberships.  

To ensure union elections are fair and transparent, we must a worker’s right to a secret ballot is protected. Last June, I reintroduced H.R. 2346, the Secret Ballot Protect Act (SBPA). My legislation isn’t pro- or anti-union; it sides with every American worker. H.R. 2346 will require a secret ballot election before a union can be certified or decertified—protecting the rights of all workers. The SBPA will also protect workers from being negatively affected by any deals cut between union leaders and management by prohibiting such negotiations.  

I have no problem with employees who vote to form a union, but the unionization process must be open, transparent and fair.   

Transparency and openness begins with ensuring every worker the right to make his or her own decision about whether they want to be in a union, free from intimidation or coercion—by the union or the employer. In an increasingly global marketplace, workers need to know the benefits—and costs—of unionizing.  

Card check is an invasion of privacy on the individual worker, and the right to a secret ballot should be protected. Had card check been used in the Volkswagen election in Chattanooga, the outcome might have been very different. As Chair of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, I will continue to protect jobs and the rights of the American worker.

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