Excerpts from a report from the State House News Service, written by Michael P. Norton.
UNION FORMATION BILL ADVANCES IN HOUSE AFTER ROBUST DEBATE OVER PROCESS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MAY 16, 2007. Legislation changing the way public employees can form unions stirred vigorous debate in the House Wednesday, a discussion that ended with a familiar result: Democrats outvoting Republicans to advance a bill backed by unions.
The bill approved by the House on a party-line 135 to 19 vote replaces a process under which employees considering creating a union would vote on the idea on a secret ballot with a process under which a union could be formed if more than 50 percent of affected workers sign cards indicating their wish to do so. An identical bill died last year after Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed it. Its supporters hope that Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, will sign off on it.
"It comes down to employees who want to organize should be allowed to do so without impediment," bill sponsor Rep. Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said during floor debate on the bill. "This creates a new system by which they can do so and that system is efficient and fair and should be adopted."