Fields: Unions Wrong To Fight Against Secret Elections

Guest Columnist

I have generally been a supporter of unions. Their excesses pale when compared to a world where workers are blocked from organizing.

Accordingly, I am not happy to argue that they are flat out wrong on the “Card Check issue.

At the same time I am puzzled why they have tolerated being saddled with the cost of representing non members.


For those of you who are not familiar with “Card Check, it is the union hot button issue.


Wikipedia sums it up perfectly:


The two methods for recognizing a union in the United States begin with an employee petition for representation by a union.

 If 30% to a clear majority of employees sign petition cards requesting representation, then the cards are submitted to the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB) for a secret ballot election.

If more than 50% of employees certify their desire for representation, then a union can choose to form using card check procedures. Under current U.S. law, the employer need not recognize the card check petition and can require a secret-ballot vote overseen by the NLRB.

Under the “card check proposal now before Congress employers would be required to recognize the union without a secret ballot election.

In 2008 it passed the House but was held up by a filibuster in the Senate.

“Card check is un-American.

Only a fool or a liar would deny that for many the decision to sign or not the card results from union or employer intimidation. Only a secret ballot will express the true feelings of the workers.

At the same time I am always puzzled that unions are accepting of laws that require them to represent non-union members in grievance procedures.

If the union refuses to represent a non-member who has been fired or disciplined it faces a lawsuit that it is likely to loose. That’s the law in Florida.

And it too is un-American.

It’s like allowing workers to opt out of paying for health insurance but requiring the plan to pay the benefits.

It’s a wonder that anyone coughs up union dues.

There is no chance that Florida’s anti-union Legislature would fix this injustice.

At the same time I believe more than sixty percent of Floridians would amend our constitution to right this wrong.

If it passed you would see a whole lot of the freeloaders signing up for unions.


6 Responses to “Fields: Unions Wrong To Fight Against Secret Elections”

  1. jimmy hoffa says:

    Check Offs are necessary because employers intimidate workers in the time it takes to hold an election. They have been known to fire union organizers, tie the elections up in court and threaten anyone suspected of having union sympathies. The only way to fight this one sided system we have now is through the card check off.

    Here is the kind of justice workers get with a “fair secret election” at the SmithfieldFoods slaughterhouse in North Carolina, which took more than 10 years to organize:
    “In 1994 and 1997, Smithfield workers voted in two union representation elections, both lost by the UFCW. In 1997 the head of plant security, Danny Priest, told local sheriffs he expected violence on election day. Police in riot gear then lined the walkway into the slaughterhouse, and workers had to file past them to cast their ballots. At the end of the vote count union activist Ray Shawn was beaten up inside the plant. Three years later Priest, while still head of plant security, became an auxiliary deputy sheriff, and plant security officers were given the power to arrest and detain people at work. The company maintained a holding area for detainees in a trailer on the property, which workers called the company jail.”

    I would agree with Mr. Fields if these were fair elections. They are not!!!!

  2. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Jimmy
    Your problem is not with secret ballots but with the NLRB. Wouldn’t an employer also be able to challenge the check off system in court by alleging phony signatures, intimidation, etc?

    If you produced 500 cards I guarantee I could challenge a number of them and tie you up in court. It would a piece of cake to get affidavits from numerous card signers claiming that union organizers threatened them into signing.

    If secret ballots are bad in union elections then they are bad in all elections because all of the corruption that exists.

    If I could get 51% of the electors to sign my petition for city counsel should we just skip the election?

    The recent DEC election is not a secret ballot. Who knows how the voters really felt?. Maybe fear caused them to support the person they believed would be the winner and not the person they wanted.

    Only jurors and government officials fulfilling their official capacity should be required to openly vote.


    P.S. Since they are knocking down the Meadowlands where are going to move to?

    P.P.S. Why are you not as pissed off about laws that require the union to represent non members?

  3. jimmy hoffa says:

    We represented everybody in the Teamsters. They paid their dues or else.
    Having to represent non-dues payers is a problem with the anti-worker politics of Florida, as you wrote.
    The anti-worker sentiment is so strong that they are embodied in the state Constitution:
    “SECTION 6. Right to work.–The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged. Public employees shall not have the right to strike.”
    Sounds down right American, until you realize that it is designed to weaken any efforts towards collective bargaining.
    Why do you think Florida has low wages and so many employers offer no benefits?

  4. Sam Fields says:

    I don’t support right to work which I believe most Floridians do support.

    It is law and not the constitution that requires unions to protect non members. I believe most of us think that is unfair.

  5. unionthuggery says:

    Sam, you are right on point.
    If I understand card-check, a worker’s yes or no vote is common knowledge. Can you imagine the late night knock on the front door by pro union people wanting to “discuss” one’s anticipated support?
    Card check is an imvitation to thuggery.
    Sam, what is the position of the pro card check lobby?
    Is the current secret ballot system broken? If it isn’t why fix it?

  6. Sam Fields says:

    I can also imagine the employer holding meetings threatening employees who signed the cards.

    This is why you have to have secret ballots