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Give workers secret ballot on union vote

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

Karen Cox and her fellow employees deserve a fair vote on whether to unionize [regarding the front-page story titled “Local woman files labor complaint” on Jan. 11]. Unfortunately, her story is not unique.

The process that union leaders used to unionize Americold – known as a “card check” – is problematic. It makes unionization votes public, and puts employees in the uncomfortable position of publicly stating their position to a waiting union leader.

This process stifles deliberation and encourages conformity and intimidation. In some cases, like that at Americold, employees aren’t even aware that they’re voting on whether to unionize.

Employees should be able to vote through a secret ballot. This would ensure that all employees independently choose whether or not they want to be union members, eliminating potential deception from the process. A bill in Congress called the Employee Rights Act would accomplish this, but union leaders oppose its passage. 

Note to readers – Richard Berman is the executive director of the Center for Union Facts.

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