Tennessee Senate Asks to Keep Secret Ballots in Unionization Votes

The state Senate sent a message to Congress Monday regarding labor unions: leave organizing elections alone.

Several federal proposals would make it easier for unions to organize by simply having workers mark a card. Employer organizations would rather keep a secret ballot process, under which they historically win more organization battles.

Senator Paul Stanley said his resolution simply asks Congress to maintain the status quo on the National Labor Relations Act.

“It just encourages Congress to keep the unionization … process intact with elections as we have them now,so that those who are seeking to unionize can have the ability to make that choice in the privacy of a ballot.”

By not making the measure a joint resolution, Stanley avoided having the measure raked over the coals in the House, where several representatives are long time union members.

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The resolution is SR 26 Stanley.

It passed the Senate 19-8-1 with little discussion.

The measure was sought by a coalition of business interests. Stanley listed them:

“This resolution just simply deals with an issue that was brought to us by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and the JOBS Coalition, consisting of NFIB [National Federation of Independent Business], Road Builders, Hospitality Association, Retail Association, Farm Bureau, Grocers, Business Roundtable and ABC [Associated Building contractors] of the Midsouth.”

A stronger bill, HB 1595 Lynn/SB 1385 Johnson, would have put the General Assembly on record as supporting the “premise” that employees have the “right to privately decide whether or not to elect union representation.”
That bill was sidetracked in both the House and the Senate.

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