GOP to Kick Off Union Organizing Fight

Posted February 24, 2009 at 4:01pm

A bicameral group of Congressional Republicans will introduce legislation on Wednesday to guarantee secret ballots for union elections, continuing what has become an annual and spirited debate over labor organizing laws. “This is going to be a premier issue,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.). Buck added that Republicans “are being proactive on this” by introducing legislation before Democrats come out with a version of their own. Price will be joined at a Wednesday press conference with Education and Labor Committee ranking member Howard McKeon (Calif.), Rep. John Kline (Minn.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) to introduce their measure. Labor organizing issues tend to pit pro-union groups against the business community. Democrats have pushed for an open ballot process in union elections and will likely reintroduce legislation on the issue this year. Republicans, however, charge the “card check” tactic intimidates workers. The Republican press conference will come just one day after the Senate voted to confirm Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as Labor secretary. Solis endured a lengthy confirmation in part because she supports the Democratic open-ballot bill. “Obviously, she’s very hostile for workers’ rights, and we want to be in front on this issue,” said Wesley Denton, a spokesman for DeMint.