A provision of a pro-labor union bill that would strip workers of their right to a secret ballot is being removed, the sponsor of the legislation said yesterday.
The controversial “card-check” component of the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” doesn’t have the votes to break a filibuster in the U.S. Senate, chief sponsor Tom Harkin has acknowledged.
The legislation stalled in the Senate after several lawmakers whose votes would be needed to overcome Republican opposition, such as Sen. Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat, said they would not support the measure. Companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., of Bentonville, Ark., have led opposition.
Harkin said he hoped changes to the bill would gain “maybe the grudging support of labor and maybe the grudging support of some businesses.”
Labor groups spent $100 million last year to elect Democrats and have made passing the card-check measure their top goal in Washington this year. President Obama supports the bill. The legislation doesn’t have enough backing in the Senate to overcome efforts by Republican opponents to block a vote.
A softened version of the bill may attract support from more lawmakers, Harkin said.
“Many do feel there is an imbalance” in current laws that favor business over labor, Harkin said.
The only imbalance is that the private sector has flat out rejected unions (their private sector membership has plummeted to just 7.6%) whereas the government has embraced them to the tune of 36.8% of its workforce, according to the latest Department of Labor statistics.
In other words, where there’s been a real choice, people have said “no” to organized labor.
More importantly, this is America, jack. Whether you’re voting for President or dog-catcher, you have a right to a secret ballot.
That becomes especially important when you’re dealing with folks who have a history of intimidation and less-than-savory “recruiting” tactics.
Of course, getting rid of “card-check” is just part of the fight to protect the American worker from this legislation … there are still some incredibly dangerous provisions that would dramatically enhance government’s role in the private sector negotiating process to the deteriment of both shareholders and employees.
Stay tuned for more on that …