The Obama administration is having the National Labor Relations Board file lawsuits against the states of Arizona and South Dakota over recently passed laws requiring secret ballots in union forming elections. Both states adopted the laws as amendments to their state constitutions and passed by wide margins, 61% in Arizona and 71% in South Dakota. Two other states, Utah and South Carolina, also passed such amendments to their constitutions as well. But the NLRB is not suing them, claiming they do not have the funds to sue all four states. The amendments passed deem it as a fundamental right for workers to use a secret ballot when voting whether or not to form a union. The Obama administration is against secret ballots used for this purpose.

obama sues Arizona

The NLRB argues that these amendments go against existing federal law. They cite the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. That act allegedly allows for unions to be formed either by secret ballot, or by open petition which would include cards signed by workers. The reason I say “allegedly” is simply because when clicking on links at various websites which are supposed to lead one to the NLRB.gov page covering union organizing procedures, all you get is an NLRB message, “Page Not Found”.

You may recall that the 111th Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were proposing a new bill, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. That law would have abolished secret ballots as an option nationwide for forming unions. However, Senator Bill Nelson (D-NE) already taking heat for his ‘Corn-Husker-Pay-Off’ in the Obama Stimulus Bill, and Sen. Arlan Spector (D-PA), who was seeking reelection in 2010, both sided with the 41 Republicans, making the bill dead-on-arrival.

Critics of the EFCA cited several reasons for opposing it. First, it obviously removes the American tradition of casting a secret ballot, free of intimidation or coercion by any viewpoint. Secondly, it would have allowed unions to be formed by a simple majority of signed, public authorizations which the unions would have advanced knowledge of before either the company or the employees as a whole. This would have given unions ample opportunity to coerce specific employees to vote differently prior to submission of the entire vote.

So, once again, the Obama administration is going after Arizona, as well as South Dakota, to support their allies in the labor unions. The National Labor Relations Board is suing both states over recently approved amendments to their state constitutions. Voters in both states approved the amendment requiring a secret ballot to insure privacy of an employee′s vote when forming a union. The NLRB claims these new laws run contrary to the U.S. Constitution, but most legal scholars beg to differ.

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