Big Labor’s number one priority in the 111th Congress was the Employee Free Choice Act. Also known as check, the law would have allowed union organizers to publicly solicit workers’ signed union authorization cards. If a majority of a company’s workers signed cards, then all workers would be forced to join the union without any opportunity to vote in a secret ballot election. Since union organizers would know exactly who did and did not sign cards, they could pressure the holdouts to change their mind.
Fortunately, card check did not pass the 111th Congress. But citizens in four states wanted to make sure their voices were heard on the issue. So Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah all had measures on the ballot that amended their state constitutions to better protect the secret ballot in organizing elections. All four measures passed by 20 points or more.
The American people do not want the government to take away workers’ right to a secret ballot and they do not want workers to be pressured into joining a union. Unions do not always benefit workers, and workers should be free to decide privately whether they want to join. Unions often hurt the companies they organize. Studies typically find that unionized companies invest less than nonunion companies and lose jobs at higher rates. When unions do win above-market wages it puts workers at particular risk of losing their jobs. Economists have also found that states with more union members took considerably longer than those with fewer union members to recover from the 1982 and 1991 recessions. Workers should have the right to privately decide whether they want to join a union. Yesterday the American people said they agreed.