Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How Would Mark Udall Explain Anti-Secret Ballot Stance to Union Intimidation Victims?

Last week we pointed to Mark Udall's feeble attempt to defend his co-sponsorship (with "serious reservations") of the poorly-named Employee Free Choice Act. The examples of South Carolina materials handler Mike Ivey and Kaiser employee Karen Mayhew demonstrated the destructive consequences of Udall's support for the "card-check" process over the secret ballot in workplace union elections.

A recent National Review piece by John Motley offers more examples:
As [former ultra-liberal Democratic presidential candidate George] McGovern warned with this system: “there are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked or intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.” In hearings in the House of Representatives in 2002, Bruce Esgar, an employee of MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas described such a case when he testified that union organizers threatened that workers who did not sign union cards would lose their jobs when the union was recognized. In testimony in 2007, Ricardo Torres, a long-time organizer for the United Steelworkers felt compelled to quit his job, according to his testimony, after “a senior Steelworkers union official asked me to threaten migrant workers by telling them they would be reported to federal immigration officials if they refused to sign check-off cards.” Jen Jason, a former organizer for UNITE-HERE also testified in 2007 to the fact that they “rarely showed workers what an actual union contract looked like because we knew that it wouldn’t necessarily reflect what a worker would want to see. We were trained to avoid topics such as dues increases, strike histories, etc. and to constantly move the worker back to what the organizer identified as his or her “issues” during the first part of the housecall. This technique was commonly referred to as “re-agitation” during organizer training sessions.” [emphases added]
What would Mark Udall have to say to Bruce Esgar? What platitudes would Udall have for Ricardo Torres or the threatened migrant workers? How would Udall defend the tactics Jen Jason described? How would he explain his anti-secret ballot stance to Mike Ivey or Karen Mayhew? Even ultra-liberal George McGovern realizes how out of touch Udall is for holding this position.

But none of it matters that much, because none of these five eyewitnesses to union intimidation have lined Mark Udall's campaign coffers with tens of thousands of dollars like labor leaders have.

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