Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Isakson Denounces Legislation to Eliminate Workers’ Rights to Secret Ballot in Choosing Whether to Unionize

During a hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today strongly criticized legislation that would strip workers of their right to a secret ballot when deciding whether to unionize.

“There is no evidence that forced unionization will do anything to assist the middle class and deliver economic security for workers,” Isakson said. “Bipartisan compromise can and should occur when both sides share a common goal. However, I cannot and will not support this anti-growth, anti-worker legislation.”

The so-called Employee Free Choice Act, which is expected to be introduced in the Senate today, would eliminate the rights of workers to participate in a secret-ballot election in order to certify the creation of a union. Instead, the legislation would force employees to make a public declaration of their preference by allowing union organizers to bypass elections if a majority of employees sign cards authorizing a union.

Isakson believes the current system, which allows employees to use a secret ballot in choosing whether they want a union to become their exclusive representative in the workplace, has worked well because it neither advocates nor discourages unionization.

Moreover, the legislation would force employers and employees to enter into binding arbitration, whereby they must accept what is essentially a federal bureaucrat’s best estimate in defining a fair and prudent contract. In addition, this legislation would provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts.

“Support for this legislation is based on the fear that, if left to their own devices in the privacy of a voting booth, some American workers might choose not to join a union,” Isakson said. “This legislation creates a situation of worker intimidation and prohibits the ability of management and labor to work together in an increasingly dynamic economy.”
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