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H.R. 2346: Secret Ballot Protection Act



Under current federal labor law, workers choose whether or not to be represented by a union through a federally-supervised secret ballot election. However, workers can also organize through a ‘card check’ campaign, in which workers are asked to publicly declare their support for union representation by signing an authorization card. When a simple majority of workers sign a card – by free choice or not – the union is then recognized with the employer’s consent. Workers are denied a vote by secret ballot and exposed to intimidation and coercion.

For years union leaders have sought to expand the use of card check to inflate the ranks of dues-paying members. A critical part of that effort is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a bill that would impose mandatory card check certification for union organizing efforts. Bipartisan opposition to EFCA has so far prevented this anti-worker ploy from reaching workplaces. But as a recent editorial in Colorado Springs’ Gazette reminds the public: “Card check is a long-term goal of the unions. Their desire for it may wane in the near term but never quite go away.”

In fact, union bosses are now turning to their allies at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to weaken the secret ballot through administrative fiat. A board decision from 2011 will force some workers to wait years before casting a secret ballot. The NLRB has also explored electronic voting, opening the door to an e-card check scheme. Workers can expect future attacks on the secret ballot from the activist NLRB.


The secret ballot is a hallmark of our democratic society. It guarantees individuals can vote their conscience, free from pressure or threat of retribution. Whether voting for political leaders or union representatives, the secret ballot is vital to personal freedom. Introduced by Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), the Secret Ballot Protection Act ensures no one – not a union representative or company official – can deny workers this fundamental right. Rather than subjecting workers to the intimidation and possible retribution inherent in a card check process, the bill guarantees questions of union representation are resolved with the protections of a secret ballot.


  • Requires a secret ballot election before a union can be certified or decertified, eliminating once and for all the threats posed by the card check scheme.
  • Prevents employers from bargaining with any union that has not been certified by a secret ballot election.
  • Prohibits union bosses from negotiating with an employer before they have been certified by a secret ballot election.

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