The final quote too is missing words that explain its surprising origin. In unabridged form, it says that “it is important that the integrity of the [Congressional Hispanic Caucus] be unquestioned and above reproach.” It comes from a letter in which four Democratic congressional representatives call for a secret ballot election of the leadership of a party caucus, and one of those signing the letter is Rep. Hilda Solis, the distinguished California congresswoman who today is being considered in the Senate for her nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of Labor.
While each of these three has offered compelling support for the use of secret ballots, they have also advocated for the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would abolish secret ballot elections for American workers deciding whether they wish to be represented by a particular labor union.
This measure is often referred to as the “card check” proposal, because it replaces the secret ballot with an open sign-up process in which workers are forced to publicly declare their support for a union by signing a card.
Put another way, card check may bring forced unionization through peer pressure, or worse, coercion and outright intimidation.
This anti-worker proposal is hugely unpopular with the public – nearly 80 percent of the American people opposed the bill when it was last brought to a vote in the House – but it’s sacred to organized labor and their allies in the Democratic Congress.
The three top Democrats voicing support for secret ballots outside the American workplace are leaders in their party, and I respect each of them deeply. But their advocacy for basic democratic rights should not stop on the doorstep of America’s workplaces.
I hope they take their own words to heart, and back away from the dangerous and undemocratic card check proposal. To do otherwise would betray the very principles of freedom and democracy that they so eloquently and vociferously defended.