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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Worker Privacy Act

Ironically leading to coercion and lack of privacy

In a guest column discussing the proposed Worker Privacy Act, Dave Schmitz says people should have their privacy respected and be free of coercion [“Worker Privacy Act: the right thing to do,” March 10].

I agree completely with these principles.

Yet, ironically, unions are making a massive push to go in the complete opposite direction. With the so-called Employee “Free Choice” Act, one of our most basic rights, the secret ballot, could be removed. This would allow unions to see who didn’t vote their way and prompt them to make house calls.

Talk about coercion and lack of privacy.

On another major front that has a huge impact on the future success of our children, public education, unions have fought tooth and nail against any sort of free choice in education.

Based on the actual actions of unions, it seems privacy and freedom of choice are not things they truly value.

We don’t need our rights taken away by some bill with another false front.

— Chris Waldorf, Seattle

Calling for pressure by oppressive union goons

In his March 10 column, Dave Schmitz, a union president, deliberately omits the fact that the Workers Privacy Act protects workers’ privacy from employers’ arguments, but replaces it with clear identification to unions of employees who are against unionization, through the act’s card “voting” system.

The act allows employees to submit cards to a union if they favor unionization. If a majority of employees submits cards, unionization is relatively automatic.

In other words, employees’ privacy is surrendered to the unions.

Employees who do not favor unionization and do not submit cards become targets for union pressure. Pressure by union goons has often been far more oppressive than simply listening to company discussions on company time. Listening is one thing; one does not have to change one’s mind and the boss need never know how one feels.

But, history proves letting unions know you are against them can be trouble.

The Worker Privacy Act is not about protecting privacy: it is about senators and representatives hoping to get re-elected by surrendering employees’ privacy to unions.

— Spencer Higley, Edmonds

Wasting time with ill-intended rubbish

Congress is currently debating a bill amazingly titled the Employee Free Choice Act. I say “amazingly” because it is just the opposite of what it purports to be.

At present, there is a straightforward method for employees to gain union representation: They sign a card indicating their potential interest, a brief campaign is held, and they vote their interest in secrecy. There is no intimidation from any direction and the employee truly has the ultimate freedom to vote as he or she chooses.

This so-called “Free Choice Act” will eliminate the secret ballot so that signing the card is construed to be the vote. Make no mistake about it, the bill is intended to allow unionization efforts to succeed, when they would otherwise fail, by taking away perspective employees’ right to privacy.

Peer pressure and forceful union recruiters will coerce representation votes out in the open.

Just how does reducing employee rights qualify as “free choice”? The answer is, it doesn’t. The name is only intended to deceive you.

This bill is about paying back campaign contributions in the form of ill-gotten union dues at the expense of employee privacy.

The playing field is level today. The process happens everyday. Don’t let deceitful politicians fool you with emotional rhetoric spewed out to help them succeed in achieving their own self-focused and unprincipled objectives. Our senators and members of Congress should be focusing on stimulating the economy, not wasting their time with ill-intended rubbish such as this.

— Sharon Wilson, Mulilteo

Comments | More in Labor, Unions

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