From Patrick Semmens at National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation:
Just to add to what others have written regarding Hoyer’s comments on FNS. While it’s often a fine line between gross misrepresentation and out and out lie, I’d say at least one aspect of Hoyer’s comments fall into the second category:
Hoyer says “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.”
But the fact is the so-called “authorization cards” that unions use to run a card check doesn’t give employees the choice to opt for a secret ballot election. In fact, the cards often seem to intentionally bait-and-switch employees into thinking that they are supporting an election, when really they have done just the opposite by signing a card that will be later be counted as a “vote” for unionization under card check.
We have an example of a typical union card here. You’ll see that on the top of the card in big bold print it says it is a request for a representation election. However, in fine print at the bottom it says that signing the card authorizes the union “also to represent me…” (meaning that it would count in a card check).
In short workers have no opportunity to request only a secret ballot vote… it’s card check or nothing because the union controls the cards and what they are used for. Meanwhile as others have pointed out, union organizers technically could request a vote, but they never would because it is always easier to pressure or mislead 50% +1 workers into signing cards, than it is to get them to vote in a union within the privacy of the secret ballot.
Hope that helps.
Also, people need to be reminded that in most states (the 28 without Right to Work laws) once a union gets in (through card check or secret ballot) every worker must (1) accept the union’s representation even if they don’t want it and (2) pay dues to the union or be fired. So while obviously the secret ballot election is far less coercive than the card check scheme, let’s not forget that both are still part of a fundamentally unjust system.
Patrick T. Semmens
Legal Information Director
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation