Legislators, take note: Voters cross-check card check

One of the signature issues of the election was the misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act” and its “card check” provision that would have effectively eliminated private ballot voting for employees deciding whether to join a union. Poll after poll warned that voters—including union households—would reject any attempt to circumvent the secret ballot, and they made good on their word. More than 40 candidates who had voted for, cosponsored, or endorsed EFCA were asked not to return—including at least 31 who co-sponsored the bill in the 111th Congress.

It is important to note this was an American issue, rather than a partisan issue. In the Senate, eight candidates who supported card check lost while West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, who came out against the bill, won. And voters in four states, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota, and South Carolina, passed measures to head off any potential efforts to kill secret ballots in their states.

The card check fight was also emblematic of larger concerns. According to a Coalition for a Democratic Workplace national poll conducted by WomanTrend and surveying those casting ballots on election day, Americans want big government and big labor to stop blocking job creation.

For example, 65 percent of Americans think it’s more important for the Department of Labor to focus on loosening regulations to allow employers to create jobs, while just one in four seek more regulation and oversight of existing businesses. Notably, union and non-union households expressed a similar level of support for “loosening restrictions” (65 percent and 66 percent, respectively).

Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly said that unions should not receive special treatment in disputes that come before the National Labor Relations Board. Fifty-one percent said employers and labor representatives should get equal consideration, and 30 percent said employers should receive more consideration than labor. Just 12 percent said unions should get primary consideration. And this is important: No less than 40 percent of voters of every self-identified political category preferred equal treatment for all parties, meaning even traditional supporters of organized labor do not believe they should receive special treatment.

These preferences do not exist in a vacuum. Voters clearly say these issues affect the candidates for whom they vote. When asked how a candidate’s support for changes in federal workplace regulations that expand the influence and power of labor unions can have over private employers, the answer was stark. Nearly six in 10 said it would make them less likely to support such a candidate, including 40 percent that said it would make them “much less” likely.

All of which is to say that Americans remember who makes the economy go and grow. It’s employers. It’s entrepreneurs. It’s small businesses. And it’s exactly those groups that our nation can ill afford to over-burden with red tape and big labor’s special-interest agenda.

Those who can read polling ought to read the writing on the wall for anti-worker, job-killing bills and regulation. It is now incumbent on our nation’s leaders to heed these views, lest they cease to be incumbents two years from now.

Brian Worth is chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

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