Hoyer on Card Check

by Jonah Goldberg

Parse this, from Fox News Sunday:

HOYER: Well, my point being that we believe that one of the problems that has existed in America is that working people have had a very, very difficult time in getting represented by unions in the workplace.

Workplace has resisted that. The NLRB has not been very vigorous in assuring the lack of unfair labor practices. So we believe that the employees — if over 50 percent of them sign and say, “We want to be represented by a union,” they ought to be able to be represented by a union.

Let me say that many, many employers currently under existing law recognize such signatures right now and start to bargain and have a union representative.

WALLACE: Whatever you call it, Congressman, are you going to pass it in the first month?

HOYER: I don’t know about the first month, but we’re going to pass it early.

WALLACE: You had talked about — when we last talked about this in November, you talked about the possibility of a compromise that would recognize the fact that there should not be unreasonable delays in giving an election, but on the other hand maybe not taking away the secret ballot from workers in a company.

Is there a compromise out there, or are you prepared to take away the secret ballot?

HOYER: Again, let me stress, Chris, nobody’s going to take away the secret ballot. The employees currently have and will have the opportunity to opt for a secret ballot. They don’t have to sign the card. They can say, “Look, we’ll have an election, and we may vote.” But they have that choice right now, and they will continue to have that choice.

WALLACE: But you want to pass the bill, just to be clear here, that the — that unions, that labor, AFL-CIO, is talking about the Employee Free Choice Act, which would — which would create a one-step system, a public vote, on whether or not to unionize.

HOYER: Well, a public vote — you mean a signing of the — of the card which says, “I want the union to represent me.”

WALLACE: Yes, right.

HOYER: What I have said, and I said on your program and will reiterate, that bill that passed the House handily is certainly going to be the base bill. Will there be discussions? There may well be discussions.

And again, I want to stress nobody is precluding having a secret ballot. What we are saying is that an alternative route will be available. And if employees choose to sign — over 50 percent of the employees sign a card saying, “We want to be represented by the union,” that that will be effected.

So, if I understand Hoyer correctly, and it’s clear he doesn’t want people to understand him easily, we will have both card check and a secret ballot, if that’s what workers want. But doesn’t the both-and option amount to getting rid of the secret ballot? The argument is that card check will serve as a form of intimidation. Well, if you’re likely to be too intimidated to tell a couple of imposing “union reps” with clipboards that you’re opposed to unionization, why would you be less scared to say, “I’d rather vote in secret”? Obviously, organizers will see that as a euphemism for being against unionizing.

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