Maine Public Employees Losing Their Secret Ballot?

Maine public employees may find themselves literally under attack if “LD 934, An Act to Clarify Public Sector Employee Fair Choice in Collective Bargaining” passes.  This will eliminate secret ballot options from employees and invited union organizers into the workers’ homes to persuade them to sign a card check form.  This bill is a state version of the forced unionism card check schemes in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, H.R. 1409 and S. 560 respectively.

 Tony Payne of Alliance for Maine’s future writes: 

Here’s what the bill’s summary says: “Under current law, if a state employee organization or public employee organization files a request with a public employer alleging that a majority of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit wish to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining, the public employer may request an election to determine whether there exists majority support among the employees for such representation. This bill provides instead that the public employer may request an inspection of the evidence of written majority authorization on the part of the employees.”

This bill eliminates the right of any public sector employer in Maine (towns, counties, government agencies, etc.) to call for an election. The bill strikes the word “election” and substitutes it with the word “inspection”.

Worse yet, the bill exposes our state, county and municipal workers to potential coercion – just like the federal card check bill that also is known as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). What’s also troubling with this bill is there is no evidence that the system is broken.

Employers in both the public and private sectors should be concerned with this attempt to circumvent the secret ballot. The right of workers to organize for purposes of collective bargaining is an important backstop to employer practices that are unfair or unsafe. This measure, however, is simply an invitation to abuse a system that currently serves the interests of employers, employees and the taxpayers.

Even though it’s summer, please let your legislators know how you feel about public employers and employees losing their right to a secret ballot.