Companies and employees are rightfully worried about the ramifications of the Employee Free Choice Act — or card check as it is more commonly known. The removal of the secret ballot from the union organizing process benefits one group — union leaders.
If the Democratic majorities in Congress make this a reality, states want a weapon in their arsenal. Utah is the first to place a measure on the ballot that aims to pre-empt the possible changes. The Legislature passed a resolution that would have voters decide whether they want to amend the state constitution to require that the secret ballot elections be maintained.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who offered his support for the measure as the Legislature debated the issue, says, "This constitutional amendment would ensure that individuals will be constitutionally guaranteed the right to a secret-ballot for these types of important elections." The resolution will go before the voters in 2010.
Advocates for the measure argue it was needed because of the possibility that Congress will enact the card-check bill.
GOP state Rep. Carl Wimmer, the bill sponsor, adds, "Is the secret ballot under attack? Right now there is a movement going through the federal government that will — regardless of what you’ve heard — do away, effectively, with secret ballots when it comes to employee representation and forming of labor unions."
Several other states are pushing similar efforts. The group Save Our Secret Ballot is working on initiatives to amend state constitutions so that union elections are required to be conducted by secret ballot.