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Imagine - If the Presidential Voting Was Public In Your Workplace...

Hat tip to Michael Haberman at HR Observations for this post idea...

Imagine you're sitting in your cube at work, and you're suddenly approached by 6 people, several of whom are louder and more aggressive than you.  As they approach your cube, you notice they're carrying a voting ballet.  Once they congregate in your cube, they immediately start to share strong, unified opinions regarding the presidential election.  You explain that you really haven't made up your mind yet.  They get louder and more aggressive.  They're trying to persuade you, but when that doesn't work, they'll settle for being bullies.  They have a favorite candidate, and they want you to vote their way. 

Here's the catch - you have to vote then and there.  If you don't vote and choose to wait, the group will leave, butVoting_booth will likely slander you behind your back, take an aggressive posture with you in passing from that point on, and tell everyone in the workplace that you aren't "on the team" and don't care about your co-workers.  Since we're talking about the presidential election, they might also spread the word that you are an ageist, sexist or racist depending on the ticket they were advocating.

Of course, that's crazy right? In America, we have the right to vote via a confidential ballet on election day, so that would never happen and it's absurd to even imagine the scenario outlined above. 

But that's exactly what the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, read more here and here) will deliver regarding union representation if signed into law by the new President in 2009.  The current right to listen to all sides regarding union representation and vote confidentially is eliminated under the EFCA.

Instead, under the EFCA unions are certified via the card check process. Today, a union needs 30% of a workplace/unit to sign "authorization cards", but that simply triggers a secret/confidential election, where employees vote their true feelings with a majority of "yes" votes needed to vote the union in.  Under the EFCA, the card check process IS the election, with a simple majority signing cards to certify the union.  Get enough cards, and the union's in.  No election.  No right to privacy or a confidential election.

For those of you who haven't been exposed, guess how the cards get distributed?  That's right, by employees, where peer pressure and intimidation are the tools of choice to force fence-sitters to sign the card.  Once a majority of employees in the workplace/unit sign the cards, the union's in.

No private/confidential election.  Most employees won't know what hit them.   

Check out the video below for a flavor of the issue at hand (email subscribers, click through for video).

Wake up and spread the word... If anyone tries to tell you it's a good idea, ask them the following question:

"Shouldn't employees be able to vote in a confidential manner/private election for or against union representation?  What's wrong with that?"

You can't say they shouldn't have the right to a confidential vote and call yourself an employee advocate...   

Comments

Michael Moore

Kris:

Many employees don't appreciate the fact that signing an union authorization card is entering into a contract authorizing a union to bargain with your employer on your behalf.

Important decisions like that shouldn't be made in rush or in the presence of someone who is pressuring you. Consumers are protected by laws that allow them to rescind contracts upon three days notice in circumstances where high pressure sales tactics have been used like, time shares, gym memberships, etc.

Once you sign a union authorization card, there is no getting it back...ever. That is why the secret ballot is so critical to the process.

Michael Haberman, SPHR

Kris, thanks for a great treatment of this. And Michael Moore, what a great statement, "Once you sign a union authorization card, there is no getting it back...ever. That is why the secret ballot is so critical to the process."

I hope that brings it home, that regardless of how well you run your company, through force of intimidation you could end up having to deal with a union, regardless of how the employees really felt or not.

Wally Bock

Great post, Kris. This act has flown under the radar, but the affects could be devastating, not least in the impact on the personal freedom of workers. There's something almost Orwellian in calling it a "Free Choice Act."

KD

MM and MH - thanks for the note and the work you have done in this area as well.

Wally - Spread the word!!

Thanks - KD

Chris Young

Kris - Great illustration on what the passing of this act would mean to the workplace!

I featured your post as one of my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks from the past week as found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2008/09/the-rainmaker-2.html

Be well!

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