The Secret Ballot: A Precious Right for All Americans

Member Group : PA Right to Work

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights."

President James Madison, 1809-1817

The Patriot-News January 12 letter to the editor, "A History Lesson" by SEIU 668 Union President Kathy Jellison, is a familiar mixture of truth and union boss innuendo regarding the formation of union elections in places of work.

While lauding the proposed "Employee Free choice Act" from the union bosses’ point of view as "putting the choice of how to form a union in the hands of workers," in truth it is more aptly known as the "card check" proposal – the simple act of signing a card presented by a union operative. Thus, by removing an employee’s legal guarantee to refuse union representation in the privacy of a secret ballot vote, "the freedom to choose to join a union" becomes a mere empty slogan.

Union forces, emboldened by President Obama’s promise to sign such a law should Congress send it to him, put out an unprecedented 2008 election campaign on his behalf and the Democratic Congressional elections. Armed by the AFL-CIO and its affiliates, get-out-the-vote campaigns, issue ads, and other election-related purposes, the fix is in for it to win.

While the card-check bill passed the House twice in 2008, it was stopped from becoming law only by the Senate’s refusal to pass it. Subsequently, union bosses nationwide have turned up the heat to see that it becomes their reality in 2009.

Accusing employers who were given the right by the 1974 Supreme Court ruling "to refuse to abide by the decision of a majority of workers," Ms. Jellison implies that "intimidation, firing of workers by employers, and threats to close the facility" were the follow-up by company bosses.

Yet, "intimidation" is rarely one-sided; certainly not as described by a California nurse in her January 2 letter to the editor of the Pasadena Star News, depicting telephone threats, bullying at the hands of union representatives, intimidation regarding workers’ children and threats to patients’ records subpoenaed by union activists.

This threat to American workers’ constitutional guarantees to privacy in stating their own personal choice to join or be governed by a union is unprecedented since the 1974 Supreme Court ruling to preserve freedom in the workplace with the secret ballot. The privacy of one’s vote, whether in a national or local election for an individual or an issue, continues to be one of our most cherished rights – honored, protected, and defended by all freedom-loving

As a champion of our Constitution and our fourth President James Madison declared, each of us has "property" in this sacred right. We must not allow it to be seized by those who would use it for their own controlling interests.

No matter how union bosses try to spin it, "card check" is an assault on liberty and an assault on jobs.

Susan Staub is president of Pennsylvanians for Right to Work, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to voluntary unionism. Pennsylvanians for Right to Work is funded solely by voluntary membership donations.