GOP Bill Mandates Secret-Ballot Union Elections

WASHINGTON—The political battle continues to take shape over union law, as Capitol Hill Republicans introduced a bill that would mandate secret-ballot election to form a union.

The measure is meant to counter the Employee Free Choice Act, a Democratic bill which would force companies to recognize unions when a majority of workers sign cards authorizing one. Under current law, corporations can require a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

Proponents of the bill believe that it would protect workers from employee intimidation. But Republicans assert that the EFCA would foster union coercion during organizing campaigns because the cards have to be signed publicly.

“With this bill, we’re sending the message that fundamental democratic rights should not be negotiable,” said Republican Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee.

The bill was launched with 101 House co-sponsors and 15 Senate co-sponsors, all Republicans.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Democrat-majorities in both the House and Senate. President Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of the legislation when he was a senator and promoted it during his presidential campaign.

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