It seems that the “Employee Free Choice Act” or Card Check will head to the floor for a vote in both chambers this week. Support in the Senate, however, seems to be wavering.
At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure — an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval.
You can find plenty of coverage of this issue all over the web (reference Memeorandum for a roundup) but I have one basic question on the issue to put to the readers. I’ve watched the war of television ads on the subject, and the pro Card Check spots all seem to be defending it on the basis of saying that EFCA won’t “take away” the employees’ right to a secret ballot, but will rather “put the choice in the hands of the employees.”
So here’s my question: Why is it even an “option” in any case? The reason for secret ballots, much as in government elections, seems obvious. Some people don’t want their votes known for fear of potential retaliation if they feel they might be coming out on the losing side of a contentious issue. What do the winners lose if they participate in a secret ballot? They still get to vote, just as they would in some open, “card check” type scenario. Nobody has their rights denied in a secret ballot, but that can’t really be said under the other system.
What is the point of this beyond greasing the skids for unionization, even if some of the employees object? Can anyone explain what exactly is so dangerous about a secret ballot?