To be sure, business is not sitting idly by while union lobbyists attempt to muscle this bill through Congress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching the Workforce Freedom Initiative against Big Labor's efforts "to take away the protection of a private ballot, giving union organizers free rein to publicly pressure workers into signing cards stating support for a union. This is un-American," said Chamber president Tom Donohue.
"The obvious intention and design of the bill is to eliminate private ballots as the primary means of certifying unions in this country," said Steven Law, the U.S. Chamber's chief legal officer.
"As a result, it would expose workers to harassment and intimidation by unions and also, arguably, by employers. We have a secret-ballot process because we believe this is the best way to make a choice free from coercion. This is basically an attempt by the unions to be able to do organizing on the cheap," Law told me.
Obama's campaign, however, says this isn't so.
"This is simply a debate over process. But it is up to the workers, and they should be free to choose their process," campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro said. "If they wish to vote by secret ballot instead of a card-check process, they can. The law does not strip them of that right."
But Obama, a lawyer, flatly says the bill "will allow workers to form a union through majority sign-up and card checks" -- bypassing the ballot process. Union leaders have said they prefer this to an election in which employers and unions compete for worker votes.
A national survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted by the Chamber in June found 83 percent were either strongly or somewhat opposed to a system where union organizers "would know which workers voted to join a union and which did not."
The House passed the card-check bill last year, but when it went to the Senate, it fell nine votes short of the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster. With predictions of a six-seat Democratic gain in the Senate this year, Obama Democrats hope they can get just close enough to a 60-vote majority to pass this dangerous and very anti-democratic legislation.
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