Monday, November 19, 2007

21 Council Members Co-Sponsor Request for Senate to Pass Pro-Union Legislation

The Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow employees to form a union based on a majority of signed cards rather than an employer-favored secret ballot, has passed the U.S. House (Tennessee's Democratic delegation voted for it; the Republicans all voted against it), but it is hung up in the U.S. Senate, where it will probably die for lack of votes to end debate. The White House has already said that it will veto the bill should the Senate pass it.

Nonetheless, Metro Council is sending a request to U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to vote for the Employee Fee Choice Act, which would also stiffen penalties for violating worker freedoms.

Here are the co-sponsors:

Rip Ryman
Lonnell Matthews
Vivian Wilhoite
Edith Taylor Langster
Darren Jernigan
Jerry Maynard
Walter Hunt
Bo Mitchell
Mike Jameson
Greg Adkins
Buddy Baker
Sean McGuire
Sam Coleman
Jason Holleman
Lonnell Matthews
Sandra Moore
Erik Cole
Frank Harrison
Megan Barry
Parker Toler
Erica Gilmore

While tomorrow night's resolution is memorializing and without the teeth to force Congress to do anything, it is a noble gesture in light of the alarming stories like this one:


  1. I haven't exactly studied the issue as it relates to Unions, but personally, I think secret balloting is generally a good idea...I'm curious as to the arguments against it?

  2. Secret ballots are a good idea if all things are equal and management doesn't try to intimidate employees who consider unionizing. The AFL-CIO charges that management currently controls the secret ballot process, which is unlike any other election process in society.

  3. You couldn't be more off base than you are on this one.

    First, the AFL-CIO chrges the secret ballot is controlled by management. That will come as a surprise to the NLRB who runs these.

    Second, the opportunity for fraud in the signature of union cards is immense. No one controls how they are signed. What the unions really want is a campaign where the company can't present their side of the story.

    Third, what is wrong with a secret ballot?

    I have personally been through a union campaign where I was coerced into signing a card (you think the union isn't capable of threatening and intimidating workers???). The only chance I had to express what I truly felt was in the voting process.

    This reminds me of the cable company ads against the phone company - you know the one "They can already compete if they only follow the rules"

  4. Metro Council members are so terribly wrong on the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.

    Here are the facts.

    The National Labor Relations Board allows employees to use a secret, confidential ballot to determine whether they want union representation. This is to ensure the election is free of employer and union coercion.

    However, the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act is a process subject to intimidation and abuse. In a “card check” campaign union officials start by gathering authorization cards signed by workers expressing their desire for the union to represent them. But these “card checks” require employees to cast their votes in front of union organizers and fellow employees who support unionization. This provides a less accurate reflection of what employees actually want than does a secret ballot election.

    There is no argument that all workers, in every industry, deserve the fundamental American right to a federally supervised private-ballot election.

    Perhaps council members should reflect on how they were elected to office by the private ballot process and support every worker’s right to enjoy the same privilege in workplace elections.