Abolishing the secret ballot in union certification votes has been a bridge too far even for the Democratic Congress. But the National Labor Relations Board has gone ahead and done it by itself. A new decision from the NLRB allows unions to dispense with the secret ballot if the employer agrees.
The decision makes a mockery of the idea that certification votes protect the rights of the workers. Now an employer can allow a non-secret ballot (at the associated intimidation by union organizers) in exchange for (temporary) union concessions, and the workers — who this is supposedly all about — have no protection.
In the past, the SEIU has struck such deals to increase its own power, to the clear detriment of the workers its purported to represent, according to the liberal San Francisco Weekly:
Instead, it’s merely a re-hash of the sort of sweetheart company-union labor deals that have marred the reputation of trade unionism throughout history. It has involved trading away workers’ free-speech rights, selling out their ability to improve working conditions, and relinquishing their capability to improve pay and benefits, in order to expand the SEIU’s and Stern’s own power.
The vote was 3-1, with three Obama appointees outvoting the one remaining Bush appointee. (Craig Becker, formerly of the SEIU, whom Obama recess-appointed to the NLRB after the Senate would not confirm his appointment, did not vote — probably because his vote wasn’t needed.)