McCain: Employee Free Choice Act Is A ‘Threat’ To ‘Democracy’

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"McCain: Employee Free Choice Act Is A ‘Threat’ To ‘Democracy’"

Today in an interview with CNBC, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted unions:

But this is — we’ve been talking about it for a long time — this is a threat to the fundamental of labor-management relations. It’s fundamental to democracy, the right to have a secret ballot.

The way that Senator Obama envisions — and the unions, and this is their big push, they’ve gotten commitments from Senator Obama and Senator Biden — union organizer goes to your house and says, Hey, Joe, can I sign you up for the union?

That is — we all know what that opens the door to. It’s dangerous for America, it’s dangerous to small business. And I think it’s a threat to one of the fundamentals of democracy.

McCain added that he would veto the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in a “New York minute.” Watch it:

Despite McCain’s claim, the EFCA preserves workers’ rights to secret balloting. However, it also gives workers the option to form a union through a “card-check” system, in which a union would be recognized if a majority of workers signed a petition testifying to their desire to organize.

Right now, there isn’t a true balance in “labor-management relations”; management has all the power. Workers can only use a card-check system if their employers approve it. CAPAF’s David Madland writes on other problems with the current process:

Employers legally can force workers to attend anti-union meetings, including “one-on-one conversations” with supervisors, which happens in over 90 percent of organizing campaigns, according to a Cornell University study. And according to research by University of Oregon professor Gordon Lafer, workers often are pressured by employers to reveal their private preferences for the union. This takes the “secret” out of the “secret ballot” — the most common conservative mischaracterization of current union organizing rules.

Not only do unions improve the quality of life for American workers, but workplaces with a card-check system experience less hostility and polarization between management and employees. ThinkProgress received a reaction to McCain’s comments from Tom Woodruff, International Executive Vice President of SEIU and Director of the Strategic Organizing Center at Change to Win:

Workers who unite in unions have fairer pay and benefits—and when working families have more in their paychecks to spend, it stimulates economic growth. … Workers need a simple, easy way to join unions without management interference. The Employee Free Choice Act provides for workers to have a union when a majority sign up — majority rule, that is the American Way.

McCain’s indignation that organizers may go to people’s homes to persuade them to vote a certain way also seems odd. Perhaps he will be pulling his door-to-door canvassing operation as well?

Transcript:

BARTIROMO: There are many issues I’d like to get to. In addition to taxes, unions. Why haven’t you made the union issue a campaign issue? That is, the right to have a secret ballot. Why isn’t this a major issue on your agenda?

MCCAIN: You know, we’ve talked about it a lot. And, unfortunately, there’s three or four issues that you can get out strongly. But this is — we’ve been talking about it for a long time — this is a threat to the fundamental of labor-management relations. It’s fundamental to democracy, the right to have a secret ballot.

The way that Senator Obama envisions — and the unions, and this is their big push, they’ve gotten commitments from Senator Obama and Senator Biden — union organizer goes to your house and says, Hey, Joe, can I sign you up for the union?

That is — we all know what that opens the door to. It’s dangerous for America, it’s dangerous to small business. And I think it’s a threat to one of the fundamentals of democracy.

BARTIROMO: Will you veto the bill?

MCCAIN: In a New York minute, if I may say that. I will do everything in my power to block such legislation.

And imagine, Senator Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pushing the union agenda, it’d be very, very, very unfortunate.

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