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Unions undermine democracy

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon’s strong public employee unions may grow even stronger now that Governor Kulongoski has signed House Bill 2891 into law. Known as card-check, it allows unions to organize government agencies simply by convincing half of the eligible workers to sign a card stating they want to join the union. If half sign, all must join or pay dues. No secret vote, not even a way to vote no. Talk about pressure and the abandonment of democratic principles.

At the federal level a similar attempt to impose card-check on private sector employers recently failed in the Senate.

These attempts to circumvent the democratic process are surprising given that virtually everyone but union bosses seem to prefer secret elections. Recent nationwide polls found that 89 percent of the public and 78 percent of union members prefer secret ballots over card-check.

But the fact that card-check passed here is perhaps not so surprising, given that over 50 percent of Oregon’s public sector employees are already unionized. This compared to just 36 percent nationwide.

With card-check now state law, we also shouldn’t be surprised if Oregon becomes less well known for our vote by mail popular elections, and more well known for taking voting rights away from our public employees.

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon-based think tank.

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