From Wall Street Journal…
Union Card Checkmate
Voters in four states protect the secret ballot.
November 8, 2010
As the lame duck session of the Pelosi Congress nears, one fear is that Democrats will try to force through some last-minute liberal legislation, in particular "card check" to kill the secret ballot in union elections. Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin has promised to seek such a vote, so in the interests of self-preservation the 23 Democrats up for re-election in 2012 might want to look at what happened to the proposal last Tuesday.
Four states—Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah—voted on "save our secret ballot" measures that would require secret elections and effectively outlaw card check as a means to certify a union. In Arizona and Utah the measures passed with 60% of the vote. In South Dakota the margin of victory was 79% and in South Carolina it was 86%.
Yes, these are right-leaning states, but these aren't merely symbolic victories. Unions have pressed to get card check laws passed in nearly half the states as a way to stop declining union membership, which is now down to 7% or so of all private workers. The state laws are also important because President Obama's appointees may try to bypass Congress and enact card check through rule-making by the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Obama's recess appointment of Craig Becker earlier this year gave pro-card check forces a majority on the NLRB.
"We're confident that state laws guaranteeing the secret ballot would trump these administrative rulings," says Clint Bolick, litigation director for the save the secret ballot movement.
Meanwhile, citizens in four more states—California, Florida, Mississippi and Ohio—are planning similar anti-card check initiatives for 2012. Americans want workers to be able to join a union if they freely choose one, but only when they are organized through honest, democratic elections. Republicans should be able to block card check legislation in the lame duck and the 112th Congress, but states can protect their economies from the NLRB with initiatives like those that passed last week.