111 K Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
- Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
- Local 202.783.3870
Yesterday, Congressman George Miller (D-AFL/CIO, and sometimes D-CA) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Orwellian “Employee Free Choice Act” into both houses of Congress.
The measure would require a company to accept the unionization of its workers without a secret ballot if half-plus-one of its workers sign cards requesting either a union or even a union election…and those signatures can be requested in public. It also would impose binding arbitration on companies which can not agree to a union contract, giving the new unions tremendous incentive to offer extremely expensive terms to the company and then take their chances with a likely pro-union arbitrator (assuming the plan gets set up where the arbitrator has some affiliation with the government.)
Although this information first hit the web more than a month ago, it bears repeating: In 2001, Congressman Miller was the lead signature on a letter to a department of the government of the Mexican state of Puebla which says:
As members of Congress of the United States who are deeply concerned with international labor standards and the role of labor rights in international trade agreements, we are writing to encourage you to use the secret ballot in all union recognition elections.
We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required, by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.
We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballot in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Mexican workplace.
You can see the original letter HERE.
And in case you think Miller is an outlier in his hypocrisy, here are the other 15 signatories of the letter, all Democratic (or socialist) members of the House of Representatives at the time:
Rep. Marcy Kaptur - D-OH
Bernie Sanders - I-VT…Sanders, a socialist, is now in the Senate
William Coyne - (former) D-PA
Lane Evans - (former) D-IL
Bob Filner - D-CA
Martin Sabo - D-MN
Barney Frank - D-MA
Joe Baca - D-CA
Zoe Lofgren - D-CA
Dennis Kucinich - D-OH
Calvin Dooley - (former) D-CA
Pete Stark - D-CA
Barbara Lee - D-CA
James McGovern - D-MA
Lloyd Doggett - D-TX
It will be fascinating to see how any of these people who are still in Congress spin their hypocrisy. I doubt any of them are in districts that could be won by a Republican. If they were, this letter could be interesting leverage on their votes. However, as I’ve said before, this measure will pass by a fairly wide margin in the House, so the real battle is in the Senate and this letter should be shown frequently to any Senator who is on the fence about his or her vote.