September 5, 2011
Fifty-one percent. Are you kidding me?
Governor Walker's back-room advisers knew what they were doing when they told public sector unions that to be allowed to bargain, they must get certified in a secret ballot vote. To "win" certification, they must get 51 percent of all the people in the bargaining unit, voter and non-voter. In other words, an employee who does not vote is a "no" vote. If they win certification they can only negotiate over wages--and the wage level subject to bargaining? The increase in COLA--if there is no increase, no bargaining. The unions must re-certify every year--same deal--51 percent, etc.
Here is the reality. We cannot get 51 percent of all eligible voters in a race for governor, senator or president let alone have winners get 51 percent of the eligible voters. We are lucky if 10 percent of eligible voters vote in school board elections.
So,how could a union, say AFSCME, get 51 percent of all people in the bargaining unit to vote for the union when management will be whisering to the employees, "What good is the union? All they can do is get a little increase in wages--not benefits. Be smart --stay home." Suppose 25 percent of AFSCME members dislike unions in general and AFSCME in particular? The union cannot win barring a miracle. Even if the unions get 51 percent of the vote they will not qualify.
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Union elections used to be run like this for all people covered by the Railway Labor Act and not the National Labor Relations Act, up until this past year when the Department of Labor reversed that rule. There is no defensible reason to have such a blatantly undemocratic rule, no matter which way you cut it. However, that matters not to the American Legislative Exchange Council (the corporate-funded group that drafted all these horrible bills like SB5 in Ohio and the WI Budget Repair Bill) and their venal goons in the state legislatures across the country. Rules like this and others such as how these "elections" are mandated each year for state unions go to show just how tilted the rules are against unions in this day and age.
-John Ertl | Hartford, CT | September 5, 2011
It seems reasonable if 51% of all employees is required for a union election, then it is reasonable that the pontificating politicians should not be allowed to take office without achieving 51% of the vote of all registered voters. Better yet 51% of all eligible to vote.
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, Illinois | September 5, 2011