Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal editorial editors made a stunning admittance: The Employee Free Choice Act doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option for employees considering unionization. They undercut one of the central messages in Big Business’s fight against the legislation. ThinkProgress also expressed surprise at the reversal, noting the editors’ aggressiveness at pushing the inaccurate meme for the past few years:
-– “Democrats in the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act, a measure that rewrites the rules for union organizing by eliminating secret-ballot elections.” [WSJ, 3/8/07]
-– “Labor wants to trash the secret-ballot elections that have been in place since the 1930s.” [WSJ, 10/17/08]
-– “Mr. Pryor knew the GOP would block the bill, which gets rid of secret ballots in union elections.” [WSJ, 1/2/09]
-– “Big Labor’s drive to eliminate secret ballots for union elections has united American business in opposition.” [WSJ, 3/11/09]
The conservative WSJ editors would rather be wrong than embraced by progressives, including Rep. George Miller (D-CA). Today, they have a new editorial, titled, “George Miller Loves Us: Too bad he and Big Labor can’t read”:
Our editorial last week, “Unionize or Die,” has suddenly been twisted to mean that we think the Employee Free Choice Act doesn’t trash the secret ballot in union organizing elections. We wrote: “The bill doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act but in practice makes it a dead letter.” California Democrat George Miller and his comrades at the Service Employees International Union have taken to quoting only the first half of that sentence and claiming we’ve had a change of heart.
These guys must really be desperate. As we’ve written many times, “card check” effectively ends secret-ballot elections because it would allow labor organizers to automatically organize a work site if more than 50% of workers sign an authorization card. Thus our words: “dead letter.” … Which is to say that the claim that “card check” would preserve secret-ballot elections is deeply dishonest.
The Employee Free Choice Act does preserve the workers’ rights to secret balloting. However, workers would also have the option to organize through a “card-check” system, in which a union would be recognized if a majority of workers affirmatively signed a petition. Workers, not employers, would have control over the union formation process.