New legislation would make obsolete secret ballots in union elections

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A bill recently introduced in Congress would eliminate secret ballots in union elections. Such a law would make it easier for nursing homes and other healthcare facilities to unionize. It is estimated that between 10% and 20% of nursing facilities are currently unionized in the United States.

The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800), introduced by Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Peter King (R-NY), would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if it is presented with signed authorization cards from a majority of the employees the union is seeking to organize. The proposed legislation also would establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations. The bill has 232 co-sponsors.

Miller chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, while Andrews chairs the committee's Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, which will hold a hearing on the bill Feb. 8.
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