03.01.07

ENZI PLEDGES FIRM OPPOSITION TO BILL THAT WOULD DENY WORKERS FUNDAMENTAL VOTING RIGHTS ON THE JOB

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today condemned approval in the House of Representatives of a bill that would compromise a worker’s right to cast a private ballot when deciding whether to join a union, saying the bill would leave worker’s exposed to pressure, intimidation and coercion by co-workers and labor union leaders. “The right to a private ballot is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and I will strongly defend that right when the Senate debates this bill and work aggressively to defeat this proposal,” Enzi said. “Working Americans deserve to choose what’s right for them in the workplace without fear, coercion or pressure and without having to publicly disclose or defend their views to hostile coworkers or unions. It would be the height of hypocrisy and irresponsibility for members of Congress – all of whom were elected by private ballot – to strip away that fundamental right. “Americans get a private ballot when they choose their President, their Congressmen, their local councilmen, even their PTA leaders – why should they not have the same right in the workplace when they decide whether they want a union to become their exclusive, legal representative in their workplace? Free, fair, and private elections are a fundamental principle of American democracy. “There’s nothing ‘free’ about taking away the right of an employee to make a private choice without fear and intimidation,” Enzi cautioned. “The cost is the loss of majority rule, free speech, and the use of the private ballot box – important principles that should not be thrown away to satisfy special interest groups. No matter how this legislation is packaged, at its core, it simply takes away an individual’s right to vote. That is a dangerous road we shouldn’t travel.” The so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” would not only require the imposition of a workplace union, based solely on signed authorization cards, it would radically alter the longstanding process of collective-bargaining and set aside traditional methods used to resolve differences between workers and employers. It also would end standards in place for over 70 years used to compensate parties who suffer a loss as a result of wrongful acts. “By substituting an unsupervised and undemocratic Card Check system for a government-supervised private ballot process, we would be sending working families a conflicting message that voting rights end at the shop door, and that the interests of the lowest paid worker take a back seat to those of union bosses,” Enzi said. ####

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