Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SOS: Group Pushes Amendment to Keep Secret Ballot

A statewide group is pushing to amend Missouri's Constitution to require secret ballots for union elections.

It's in response to pending federal legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize.


At issue: Impact of the Employee Free Choice Act

"Ten union organizers show up at your 10 employee's house all in one night. It they can get five of them to sign a card, by the time you come to work the next day, you are a unionized company," said Save Our Secret Ballot's Tim Mooney. "This is bad stuff. It ought to be awfully scary to you. You pass this in a dozen states, with the kind of numbers we have in our poll, and it will kill this idea."

"Shame on them for choosing this way to tip the scales. That is an absolutely offensive, brazen, cynical tactic," said Missouri Save Our Secret Ballot Chair John Loudon.

So far the group has said its raised $100,000 and landed 40,000 signatures for the ballot initiative that would force unions to hold secret ballot elections.


Clark Brown, the SEIU legislative liaison in Missouri:

"I can very confidently say that workers are intimidated," Brown said about how companies delay and stall union elections under the current system. "The act we're looking at is wanting to put that choice in hands of the workers, whether they have a private election."

Said he's sure EFCA would grow unions in Springfield But notes . . . "The Employee Free Choice Act does still entitle secret ballot elections, but it makes it the choice of the workers."


ALSO: The Missouri Chamber of Commerce held a separate meeting on a similar topic with GOP strategist Karl Rove. Ky3 requested an interview with Chamber president Dan Mehan or Rove, but did not receive a call back. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who was billed as the headliner for the SOS event, instead cancelled to attend the Missouri Chamber event with Rove. That event was not open to press.

When I asked Loudon why the Mo. Chamber president Mehan would schedule a similar event on the same day, he replied, "You'll have to ask him."

"The Missouri Chamber of Commerce has opposed civil rights, the 40 hour work week, the 8 hour work day, OSHA safety regulations and the 2006 increase to the minimum wage. And now they're bringing in George W. Bush's old friend Karl Rove to raise money to fight against the Employee Free Choice Act," said Brad Stokes, president of the Springfield Labor Council.

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