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Brenda Cossette, Published April 26 2009

Private ballot lost under act

In a recent letter by Tom Magin of Fargo, he indicated that the Employee Free Choice Act would not deny a worker his or her right to a private-ballot vote.

As a human resource professional, I support the right of every employee to choose whether to join a union. The Employee Free Choice Act would not take away the right to a private-ballot vote, but it most certainly would in practice.

Under the law, unions would only need 51 percent of the employees to be represented in a bargaining group to sign cards in order to form a union. The union decides if they want to go to a private-ballot vote or just represent the employees based on the signed cards. The union would have no reason to want an election when they already have the cards signed and they can be recognized as the exclusive representative of employees.

Unions seem to have long understood that many employees will sign the cards but will vote “no” in the private-ballot vote. This is why many are saying the private-ballot vote would be taken away, because in practice unions will not want to risk losing the election and losing the dues income that they would obtain. Private-ballot elections are the only way to ensure a truly free choice and eliminate coercive pressure from either side.

This is America. We believe in freedom and the right to choose. The Employee Free Choice Act does not support a truly free choice when it may eliminate the employee’s right to vote for or against a union.

Cossette is president of the Agassiz Valley Human Resource Association.