Letter to Speaker Pelosi in opposition to H.R. 800

03/02/2007

27 February 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Madame Speaker,

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong opposition to H.R. 800, the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act," which was favorably reported by the House Committee on Education and Labor.

This ill-named legislation attacks the very meaning of free choice. Without Federally supervised private ballot elections, our democratic process would be extremely susceptible to corruption, and the very foundation of our Republic could be undermined. This bill would do the same thing to our nation's workers by robbing them of their privacy, power and voice in deciding who should represent and defend their rights as employees. The scheme proposed by the legislation would replace the current democratic process of secret ballots with a "card check" system that invites coercion and abuse. Under this process, the identity of workers who signed or refused to sign union organizing cards would be made public to the union organizers as well as to the worker's employer and co-workers, leaving these individuals vulnerable to threats and intimidation from union leaders, management, or both.

Today, the most common method for determining whether or not employees want a union to represent them is a private ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB provides detailed procedures that ensure a fair election, free of fraud, where employees may cast their vote confidentially without pressure or coercion from unions, employers, or fellow employees. Indeed, law enforcement officers are uniquely susceptible to such pressure. The FOP is an organization run by law enforcement officers for law enforcement officers and without the anonymity of the secret ballot, the FOP would probably not exist today. We would be forced into competition with much larger, much richer unions, but ones without any professional law enforcement background.

The courts have repeatedly ruled that Federally supervised private ballot elections are the fairest method to determine whether a union has the support of a majority of employees. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that "It would be difficult to imagine a more unreliable method of ascertaining the real wished of employees than a card check." Similarly, the Second Circuit ruled that, "It is beyond dispute that the secret ballot election is a more accurate reflection of the employees true desires than a check of authorization cards collected at the behest of a union organizer." The Sixth Circuit also shared this view, stating that, "An election is the preferred method of determining the choice by employees of a collective bargaining representative."

The only way to guarantee worker protection from coercion and intimidation is through the continued use of a Federally supervised private ballot election so that personal decisions about whether to join a union remain private. I urge you and your House colleagues to join us in opposition to H.R. 800 and, instead, continue to protect the rights of the American worker. If I can be of any further assistance on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington office.

Sincerely,

Chuck Canterbury
National President