Rep. John Kline (R-MN) held a conference call among bloggers today to speak about Card Check legislation that will shortly come under consideration in Congress.  Kline represents my district, and is a stalwart on spending and national security.  It comes as no surprise that the former senior military officer would feel strongly about protecting the secret ballot for American workers.

Kline says that if Card Check passes, we will not see another secret ballot in union organizing elections.  Advocates say that the bill just passes the choice for a secret ballot from the employer to the employees, but Kline says that’s simply not true.  If they get a majority of cards in the workshop, the NLRB will recognize the union when the union presents them.  The employees do not have the right to then demand a secret-ballot election.

Kline also noted that unions usually don’t reveal an organizing effort until they get enough cards to provoke an election.  With Card Check, they won’t know about it until the union gets certified.  Employees who don’t want a union would get no real voice in stopping it, either.

One bright spot: Card Check is having a tougher time getting co-sponsors.  “Last year, it was a free pass,” Kline said, as the certainty of its defeat made it an easy way to pander to unions.  With its strong unpopularity among American voters, though, having it passed would create political problems at election time.

Opponents in both the House and Senate have introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act, including Kline, this week.  They’re actively looking for co-sponsors.  Without that, Card Check will end any hope of secret-ballot elections and the protections against intimidation in the workplace.

Questions:

  • Me: What would happen if they both pass? – Kline says the chances of that approach “zero”.
  • Me: How many co-sponsors to you have? — Over 110, but no Democrats, at least not yet.  Rumor has it some may sign onto it.
  • How would Card Check affect right-to-work states? — It would override any state protections.
  • Janet Beihoffer, SCSU Scholars: Is there any recourse if it passes?  — No.  It would have to be overridden by later legislation and signed by a President.
  • Janet again: Any big PR efforts to publicize the issue? — Kline says yes, mostly operating out of DC.  He can’t coordinate with them due to campaign finance regulations.  Kline also notes that the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the elimination of the secret ballot.
  • Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority: How does the Minnesota delegation split on this issue? — Right now, on party lines, which is true pretty much for Congress as a whole.

Previous posts on Card Check: