Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Op-Ed

Robert Gibbons, interim president of the Mass Hospital Association, offered an op-ed on the topic of elections and union organizing in the Memorial Day edition of the Boston Globe. If you know Gibbons, you know he is no anti-union shill. And, his employer represents both hospitals with unions and those without. But Gibbons is talking about process. Excerpts:

I can remember as a child learning that one of the most important and fundamental pillars of our democracy is the right to cast a secret vote in an election.

We wouldn't think about holding an election for any office, from school committee to president of the United States, without the protection of a secret ballot.

Then why are unions in Massachusetts and throughout the country hellbent on circumventing the democratic election process, and supplanting the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, to impose what's known as a "card check"?

It's illegal for anyone to coerce an employee to sign a union card. However, it can be extremely intimidating for an employee, faced with someone waiting for them to sign an authorization form, to say no to such a request. There is no protection of the ballot box. Everyone -- particularly the union representatives -- knows who voted for the union and who voted against it.

Unions argue that secret ballot elections give management the ability to coerce people into voting against the union. No one would condone such tactics by any employer.

But there is something fundamentally anti democratic about a card check election. Even a majority of union members recognize that. In a 2004 Zogby International poll, done for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 53 percent of union members say they would prefer to keep the secret ballot election.

I have mentioned this topic below, and there was lots of interesting give-and-take in the comments. Check them out and draw your own conclusions.


Anonymous said...

I'm split when it comes to unions. I was a member of one very large international union for over 20 years. Now I work non -union and enjoy my work much better. I work for A major teaching hospital in Boston and not sure if a union would benefit "me" anyway.

If a business is good to their employees and pays a fair wage then a union is really not needed. Unions belong at places like Wal*Mart. where workers are being exploited and have to use Hospital ER's for there health care.

Anonymous said...

I saw this article in the Globe on the same topic -- http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2007/05/30/labors_bad_idea/

B-C said...

I think any form of card check elections are inherently intimidatory. Their existence, in the year 2007, is still puzzling.