Chambers respect the rights of workers

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We welcome a debate with organized labor over the proposed Employee Free Choice Act expected to be before Congress shortly. But let’s stick to the facts. (Albert Lea Tribune letter, Feb. 20, “Chambers deliver lots of misinformation”)

Laura Askelin, president of the Southeast Minnesota Area Labor Council, says the legislation, better known as “Card Check,” “would restore American workers’ ability to bargain together for better wages and benefits” — somehow implying that employees currently do not have that right. Nothing is farther from the truth.

The Minnesota and U.S. Chambers of Commerce respect the right of workers to decide whether to form a union — in the privacy of a secret ballot without pressure or coercion from anyone. That all would change if unions have their way.

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Under Card Check, union organizers would be free to “persuade” workers to publicly sign a card stating that they support the union. Organizers could ask workers to sign a card just about anywhere — in a parking lot after work, at a restaurant, even at home. Once more than 50 percent sign cards, workers would be stuck with the union — with no more debate and with no secret-ballot election. And unions would know exactly who did and did not sign cards.

Exposing workers to this harassment may seem unfair, but fairness is not the goal of this legislation. We need our elected officials to protect secret-ballot votes in our workplaces before this legislation does irrevocable harm to our small businesses and struggling economy.

David C. Olson


Minn. Chamber of Commerce