YDNC Stands Up for Workers

This Tuesday Senator Richard Burr and the business front group "Americans for Prosperity" are kicking off a campaign against workers' rights. They are hosting a rally at 10:30 on the Bicentennial Mall across from the North Carolina Legislature.

The supposed purpose of this effort is to protect the so-called "secret ballot" in union elections. In reality this is an effort to continue the roadblocks that have been placed in front of workers who wish to unionize by lying about the Employee Free Choice Act and keeping the ban on collective bargaining.

Because we know that workers deserve a voice, and have earned an equal paying field, the Young Democrats of North Carolina are organizing a counter-rally to stand up for workers.

In 2007 the Employee Free Choice Act was passed by the House, but was filibustered by Republican Senators such as Richard Burr. At that time, now President Obama stood up to support workers, saying:

I support this bill because in order to restore a sense of shared prosperity and security, we need to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process and bargain for their fair share of the wealth our country creates.

The current process for organizing a workplace denies too many workers the ability to do so. The Employee Free Choice Act offers to make binding an alternative process under which a majority of employees can sign up to join a union. Currently, employers can choose to accept--but are not bound by law to accept--the signed decision of a majority of workers. That choice should be left up to workers and workers alone.

Some Key Facts have been put together by the AFL-CIO for you to read. A much longer collection of information and links is available here.

SEIU put together a short video explaining the Employee Free Choice Act from the rally a few weeks ago where a coalition of unions delivered 1.5 million signed petitions in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

You can get information about the event by following this link to the facebook group:
Event info on Facebook

Burr's rally starts at 10:30 AM across from the Legislature (16 W Jones St, Raleigh). We will be meeting a little earlier to show our support for workers.

North Carolina showed it was ready for change in November. Now it is time that we remind Big Business that we will not be silent between elections.


Blue is doing a great job for YDNC by leading our labor caucus

YDNC isn't afraid to stand up for our key democratic principles. Please come out on Tuesday in support!

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

You have our support

We will be unable to attend, but know we are there with you. Take some picture and post them here. Thanks for your work on this effort. We need a lot of North Carolinians to stand up EFCA.

The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.--A. Phillip Randolph

What is wrong with a secret ballot?

What is more American and democratic than a secret ballot?

I read the materials linked to above and pretty much all of the arguments for "majority sign-up" instead of "secret ballot" are unrelated to the method of voting/sign-up.

If the NLRB election process is broken, then let's fix it. The fact that each worker gets to privately express their position is NOT what the problem is.

I have to agree

I would be far more intimidated if my ballot wasn't secret.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It still there

The EFCA still allows for a secret ballot. But it is the employees choice, not the employers to use it. There in lies the difference...a "Free Choice".

The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.--A. Phillip Randolph

Is the "choice" of method..

...a "sign up" sheet or is there a vote on the method of voting. I have read the text of the amendment, and I'm not picking up anything about the employees voting/signing up to decide how the union vote will be held. It reads more to me like "if a majority signs up you get your union."

If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection

Its not private

This isn't an election in any real sense of the word. Workers are subject to intimidation, have no freedom of speech, and more. The analogy for an NLRB election is if this past November John McCain had said "I will fire you if you vote for Obama" and Obama had been able to spend a few thousand dollars compared to McCain's millions.

Currently a quarter of union organizing efforts use "majority sign up" instead of the ballot election (that is since the 1930s). The problem is that the "choice" lies with the employer instead of with the workers.

So when an employer can sit you down, and find out where you stand on the election, fire you if they want, and then delay or ask for a revote at any time, is it really a secret ballot anymore?

"Keep the Faith"

Like I said

nothing I have read so far has shown where the problem is with a secret ballot. All the complaints seem to apply to other parts of the NLRB election process. Having the "card check" method seems to be "fair" in that under current conditions the worker is potentially subjected to coercion from both sides.

Don't tell me that having everyone know one's personal vote on unionization would have no effect whatsoever on their choice or decision making process no matter which way it went.

Its not secret

If you want to completely reform the system so that the employer is not allowed to do anything to find out where you stand on the issue that is one thing. But how do you plan on enforcing that?

Are you going to put a government inspector in every 1 on 1 conversation between a boss and their employee between now and the end of time? Of course not. So seperate from that you have no way to ensure that the ballot is actually secret.

"Keep the Faith"


I'm sorry, but what you said makes no sense.

Signing your name on a list lets EVERYONE know where you stand.

You can lie, tell the truth, or say nothing to your union-hating employer or your union loving coworker.

Unless the ballots are marked or there is a secret camera, only the voter knows how they voted.

Again, my point is all the justifications for this amendment have pretty much nothing to do with the actual method of recording one's preference for a union.

union vote

The "method of recording" sounds very innocuous and ministerial. The issue is what happens in real life during a union election. The stories are legion of intimidation during the election. Which brings us back to the point that the workers ought to be allowed to pick which method to use. Right now, management gets to decide. The fact that they are vehemently defending the ability to require an election should tell a lot about which method gives management the most leverage.


These people told us raising the minimum wage was bad for workers. They told us expanding SCHIP was a bad idea. They told us the stimulus bill was evil. They told us the Bush tax cuts were the best idea ever. The told us GM was failing because of unions then offered no commentary when non-union Toyota announced it was having financial troubles.

And now they are telling us that the "secret ballot" is the cornerstone of our entire socio-economic system.

Call me cynical, but I'm not inclined to believe them.

"Keep the Faith"


If the employers think they have a chance at all of not being unionized, they think it will come from secret balloting where workers might not be under the pressure from their coworkers they would be if everyone knew each other's vote.

Intuitively, it seems like a non-private voting method may influence how one votes. We spend more waking hours with our coworkers than we do our spouses. We know we don't want our spouses sore at us, so why in a job market like this would we want to upset our coworkers?

The issue is what happens in real life during a union election. The stories are legion of intimidation during the election.

Again, all the arguments against elections appear to have nothing to do with the particular way one's preference is recorded. If there is something wrong with the "campaign," fix it. Unless the choosing of the method is done by private ballot, what is the difference? Besides, what if it is a minority who wants a private vote? Aren't we supposed to protect the minority from the tyrrany of the majority?

Until someone comes up with some real reasons why a secret ballot is bad, the motivation for and against the "card check" seems quite clear for both sides. Both pro-union and anti-union believe that a public petition increases the likelihood of the union getting approved. At least those against the bill are honest about it.

Now that is funny

I lost track of all the lies told today by the AFP folks at their rally today. From simple misstatements, to gross exaggerations to outright lies they are anything but honest.

Back to your point though, how do you plan on protecting in the worksites? I can't imagine you would be in favor of a government inspector in every 1 on 1 conversation that occurs in the workplace. Are you going to require that the NLRB oversee every change in work responsibilities during an election? Of course not. Both of those are impossible and absurd. So how else are we supposed to protect workers other than changing the system?

"Keep the Faith"

Protecting Worksites

How do YOU plan on protecting the worksites? The magic petition force field?

How does going around and getting people to sign a petition change everything?

How does signing a petition instead of voting change any of these scary 1 on 1 situations?

What is it about the secret ballot that makes it plagued with intimidation and in no way compatible with any future system?

What is it about signing a petition instead of a secret ballot that so fundamentally changes the system that nobody on either side can possibly spread disinformation, intimidate, etc. any one individual worker?

I plan on passing the Employee Free Choice Act

Which increases fines and penalties for employers who break the law and shortens the process of a union election giving employers less time to mount an anti-union effort.

"Keep the Faith"

I think I'm done with this

and I really had hoped to hear something even mildly compelling as to why the secret ballot is just not workable.

Like I said in an earlier post, until SOMEONE comes up with a real reason why secret balloting is unworkable, it will remain quite clear that proponents of "card check" support that method of polling because they believe that method, in and of itself, increases the likelihood of the union "vote" passing. All the arguments supposedly against the secret ballot have to do with the "campaign" process and not the method of expressing one's preference for or against a union.

Thats fine

And you can keep ignoring the fact that this bill does nothing to get rid of the secret ballot, it simply changes who makes the decision.

"Keep the Faith"

My understanding

My understanding of the current law is if 33% of the eligible employees sign a petition then a vote can be held. My understanding is this will not change. (Disclaimer Here: We still have the legislative process to go through so anything can change.) So as it currently stand 33% sign a petition and a vote SHOULD occur. The problem is the company begins to interfere at this point. The company sees the petition. Starts trumping up reasons to fire the "instigators". This works well to scare the crap out of the other employees and the signer of the petition. The company then finds some fair haired employees gives them a little raise then announces it has heard the message and the Union will just stand between you and the company. Ie. See the largest retailer in the world model for breaking Union organizing. If was bad for the employees do you think the CEO of Home Depot, B of A and many others would be squawking?

The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.--A. Phillip Randolph

Card check is not really new

The law currently allows for a "card check" method of establishing a union -- but doesn't require the employer to accept it. The EFCA would give the employees the power to decide which method to use, rather than the employers. Obviously, the employers choose the election process because it facilitates their ability influence the outcome.

Right now, if employees want to get rid of their union, the way they do it is essentially the reverse card check -- a non-secret process of petitioning against the union. You don't hear employers crying foul about that.

Employers are using the "secret ballot" term very effectively to divert attention to the problem that labor is trying to correct -- the frequent abuse of the election process by management. The election creates a very intense period that can become abusive, especially toward those perceived as the organizers. The card check gives the pro-union employees the opportunity -- but not requirement -- to use a less compressed & hostile format for collecting support.


In an NLRB election 46% of workers report some form of intimidation by their employer. In a majority sign up election that number is cut in half.

"Keep the Faith"

Who should decide?

Who should decide whether there is an election or not and when that election is? Right now it is the employer. This bill says it should be the workers instead. It certainly does not take away from the election.

Here is one scenario in which the workers would choose to have an election. What if there are two unions competing to organize the worksite? I could sign up with both unions without a problem, because I want representation no matter what. But how is the NLRB supposed to decide which one gets it? Instead of counting cards, the workers ask for an election, and one is held. Nothing in that scenario would infringe upon the rights of the worker, it would simply not allow the employer to be the sole decider.

"Keep the Faith"

Public Employee bargaining in NC

If the bill passes at the national level, NC can then have the ban on public employee bargaining lifted in our state.

Not related

The Employee Free Choice Act simply governs the method unions are formed, and would not over ride the ban on collective bargaining for State Employees.

There is an entirely different bill that would allow collective bargaining for a fraction of state employees (it would override state law on the matter). But its uncertain how likely that one is to pass.

"Keep the Faith"

You did great.

Level playing field. That's a winning frame.

I've never seen Dallas Whathisname? before. He made no sense, though it could have been an editing problem.

Nice work.

You're right.

Rob did a great job on this story. It sure brought out the looney tunes, though.

Stick with the story: Level the playing field.