Friday, April 25, 2008

An Offer You Can't Refuse

In the 1980's, Britain reformed its industrial relations laws, after the experience of crippling national strikes in the late seventies.   Of all the reforms proposed, the one that evoked the fiercest and most sustained resistance from British union leadership was the proposal to guarantee workers the secret ballot in elections for union leaders.   The secret ballot protected individual workers from intimidation and coercion in union elections.
Here in the United States, the secret ballot performs the same function.   But Democrats in the House of Representatives have passed legislation to strip American workers of their right to a secret ballot in elections to decide whether or not to unionize their workplace.   It would leave workers open to threat of job loss, intimidation, violence, and threats to the safety of family members.   Which is exactly why its supporters want it:   to make workers an offer they can't refuse.

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