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Thursday, March 5, 2009
Kessler Misleads on Labor Law
Topic: Newsmax

In a March 4 Newsmax column agitating against the Employee Free Choice Act, Ronald Kessler writes: "Under labor relations laws, workers for the past 75 years have had the right to choose by secret ballot whether to sign up to join a union."

In fact, workers do not "the right to choose by secret ballot whether to sign up to join a union"; that choice is made by the employer. As Media Matters summarizes, under current law, a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers can represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union, without holding such an election. The choice to have a secret-ballot election is the employer's, not the workers'.

Kessler also falsely states that the EFCA "would deprive workers of the right to a secret ballot." In fact, it would merely move the choice to have a secret-ballot election from the employer to the workers.

Further, Kessler uncritically states that "When given the right to choose by secret ballot, employees generally reject unions" without also noting why that might be. Employers regularly use anti-union tactics such as intimidating workers, firing workers, and threatening to shut down factories and businesses. Kessler also uncritically writes that the EFCA "subjects the employee to possible intimidation and retaliation if he does not go along and sign up to join the union" without mentioning that, according to the National Labor Relations Board, the vast majority of complaints over alleged unfair labor practices are filed against employers, not unions.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EST

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