The proposed constitutional amendment to the Utah Constitution to mandate secret ballot elections in union organizing drives will be voted on by the people of Utah in November 2010. Utah is the first of the SOS (Save Our Secret ballot) states to approve the issue for a vote. Many people (including myself) still have doubts that a state constitutional amendment would trump a federal law like the Employee Free Choice Act, but I remain hopeful that it can withstand the certain United State Supreme Court scrutiny that it will receive. On another point, the vote in November 2010 will happen long after Congress decides which version of EFCA it will pass.
In other SOS news, the SOS Chairman, Rep. Ernest Istook responded to Teamster International President, Jimmy Hoffa’s ridiculous question of “since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?” Rep. Istook responded with the following:
“Mr. Hoffa’s statement is the epitome of arrogance and willful ignorance. The secret ballot has been a basic tenet of democracy since its earliest beginnings in Greece. Skipping ahead a few millennia, modern democracy has relied on secret ballots to ensure that the voting process is untainted by coercion and intimidation, something I think he may be familiar with. He should ask those Democratic sponsors in the House and Senate if they enjoyed secret ballots in their leadership elections, and he also should ask Rep. George Miller why he felt it necessary to ask the Mexican government to protect secret ballots for their workers.
“SOS Ballot has been conducting a number polls with Wilson Research Strategies on the secret ballot in states where we are launching campaigns, and we have found that this issue enjoys enormous public support, including 90% support in union households. Mr. Hoffa needs to reacquaint himself with the rank and file Teamsters whose dues pay his salary before he makes another arrogant statement. Its clear that the union boss agenda is to oppose secret ballots throughout our society. We cannot let them get their anti-democracy foot in the door because they might never stop. Today they attack the secret ballot rights of their own members; tomorrow it’s the rest of us. We saw this before our recent victory in Utah, when the UT AFL-CIO leadership referred to the secret ballot process as anti-democratic.”