House Encourages use of Intimidation to Form Unions


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From Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - Democrats rewarded organized labor Thursday for helping them retake control of Congress, passing a House bill that would make it easier for workers to start unions against companies' wishes.

The legislation, passed 241-185 on a nearly party-line vote, would take away the right of employers to demand secret-ballot elections by workers before unions could be recognized.

"It's simply about establishing fairness in the workplace," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said the real issue was "taking care of union bosses."

Labor groups saw the Employee Free Choice Act as one way of halting the downward trend of union membership, now about 12 percent of the work force.

The celebrations may be short-lived. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pledged to block the bill and the White House says President Bush will veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

The House vote was short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to overturn a veto. Thirteen Republicans voted for the measure; two Democrats voted against it.

Labor groups contend that secret-ballot elections have become a means for employers to intimidate workers into rejecting unions.

"In the past few decades, labor law has been so twisted by corporations and their union-busting hired guns that it is now virtually impossible to form a union against an employer's wishes," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said.

Business groups campaigned against the bill, saying it is an affront to democratic principles and would give high-pressure organizers unimpeded access to workers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill was "the most important labor law reform legislation of this generation."

"It is about basic labor rights, about the rule of the majority free from intimidation and about protecting jobs," she said.

Boehner said the bill really was about "taking care of union bosses. ... This is an effort to help them get more members, to make it easier for them to sign them up and to intimidate them to sign cards."

"In many places, when you exercise your right to organize, you get fired, you get intimidated, you get harassed, you get followed home," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.

I'm confused here. How do employers intimidate those who vote to start a union in a secret ballot? Seems to me intimidation is far easier if everyone has to publicly declare which way they're voting. But then again, I guess that's what the Democrats are trying to accomplish here.


I don't know what the 'law' says, but people that want to join together and form a group, any kind of group, are free to do so on their own time (not on the clock), and off of the property of the workplace. If only private property were respected....

It's a guess, but I bet Union Laws force the employer to provide time and property for union organizers to petition/persuade other workers.