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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Sacrificing the Secret Ballot Over a Turf War?

The anti-worker card check plan has always been understood to be political payback to certain special interest groups. Union leaders have publicly admitted as much. But a revealing new interview of a top labor boss by The Politico exposes a previously hidden agenda for those who would take away workers’ right to a secret ballot: it’s all about consolidating power in the ongoing union turf battle.


“‘Passing EFCA would defuse a lot,’ [SEIU President Andy] Stern said. ‘A post-Employee Free Choice Act world actually creates the real opportunities for unions to do what they want to do’ — that is, organize within their own industries, rather than cross the industrial lines that lead to tension.

Stern said that, for instance, SEIU might move away from organizing some public workers, a drive that has expanded his union at the cost of tension with the traditional public workers’ union. That involvement with public sector power-brokers included impeached former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who received lavish support from the local SEIU.

"In a post-Employee Free Choice Act world, we would go where no one else wants to go, which is the south and Southwest,’ he said, saying SEIU could ‘stay away from places where other unions will probably want to.’”

Smith, “Stern in the middle,” The Politico, 02.18.09


Could this possibly be true? Are workers really being asked to forsake their right to a secret ballot—the right to be free from intimidation, coercion, or retribution based on how they cast their vote—in order to ease conflict among union leaders hungry for power? And are congressional Democrats really considering such a radical, anti-worker plan?

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