House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.


Left Turns

February 7, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Forde
(202) 225-4527

Card Check Proponents DO Support a Secret Ballot for Workers…in Mexico

Democrat leaders this week introduced legislation to kill workers’ secret ballot rights in the workplace, instead exposing their private votes in union organizing elections and making them completely public. In a bizarre display of hypocrisy, however, eleven U.S. House sponsors of the legislation – including the bill’s lead sponsor – wrote several years ago to government officials in Mexico, urging them to protect the very same secret ballot rights upon which the new House bill tramples. 

Specifically, on August 29, 2001, 16 Democrat House Members (five of whom have since retired) wrote: 

“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 workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may otherwise not choose.” 

To their credit, the Democrat Members are making the correct argument.  They’re just not making it on behalf of those they actually represent in Congress. 

Amazingly, the legislation proposed yesterday represents a complete flip-flip on the same policy Democrat Members were urging on behalf of Mexican workers.  The “Employee Free Choice Act” – contrary to the implication of its title – would strip workers of their right to a secret ballot in union organization elections and replace it with a mandatory card check that would end workers’ rights to freely choose whether to unionize.  Card checks – as the Democrat Members correctly noted in their letter – notoriously leave workers open to coercion, pressure, and outright intimidation.  So why the flip-flop?  Could it be payback to Big Labor bosses who helped Democrats last November?  Could it be declining union membership?  

Regardless of the real reason, the fact remains… 

Secret ballot rights for workers: Democrat leaders were for them before they were against them. 

U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Republicans | (202) 225-4527