For some time now, we have been closely following the progress of the deceptively named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) or, as it is more commonly known– "card check"– as it wends its way through Congress. Noted in several prior posts and discussed on our Saturday radio program, this legislation eliminates the secret ballot presently available to workers when it comes to the question of unionization. As you might suspect, Democrats are mostly in favor of its passage, given their long-time relationship with labor unions in general, and it has been up to the Republicans to stand in the way of passage of this onerous legislation. While certainly overshadowed by the present fiscal chaos dominating the news cycle, this issue has turned out to be one of the major topics of discussion in some of this year’s most closely contested Senate races.
Certainly the subject has found its way into the Sununu/Shaheen race, with our friends at Granite Staters for Employee Freedom pushing the issue every chance they get at various campaign events and meetings throughout the state.
What you might not have known (like me) is that, in addition to Senator Sununu being on the right side of this important issue, another New England Republican in a close re-election race is right there too: Susan Collins. That’s right– while you’re probably like me in thinking that the Maine Republican Senator is not nearly conservative enough when it comes to certain matters, it turns out she is absolutely right when it comes to her position regarding EFCA. In fact, during a recent debate against her Democratic challenger she literally knocked it out of the park when questioned on "card check". Said Senator Collins, in response to a question as to where she stands:
I am strongly opposed to taking away the guarantee of a secret ballot when workers are deciding whether or not to organize.
She then provided some details that clearly demonstrates her grasp of what is at stake:
There is a fundamental difference between Tom [Democratic challenger] and me on this issue. And don’t buy into the fact that some of the supporters of this bill will tell you that it’s quote "just another option." It’s not "just another option." It does away with the guarantee of a federally supervised secret ballot when workers are deciding whether or not they want to be represented by a union.
Now I support the right of people to join unions and collectively bargain, but the decision on whether to unionize and which union should represent them should be done by secret ballot to protect the employees from intimidation by either side.
What this bill does is it says that if the union gets 51 percent of the workers to sign a card, the union’s in. Think of the possibilities for coersion and intimidation if that’s the way the decision is made. We have to have a secret ballot…
Senator Collins knows the facts on this particular subject and was surprisingly passionate, which I was glad to see. The EFCA legislation, if passed, would be a huge step backwards for employee freedoms in this country and a giant gain for the more heavy-handed elements of unions in general. Do we really want that?
A big huzzah for Senator Susan Collins on this one. You go girl!!