Union activists brace for possible action on secret-ballot bill

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Despite a veto threat from President Bush, a bill that could end secret-ballot union elections may be advanced in the Senate early next week. The Employee Free Choice Act, which the House passed by a wide in March, could come up for a procedural vote as early as Monday.

The proposal would require employers to acknowledge a labor union as employees' bargaining agent if cards from more than half of the employees were collected. The process could eliminate secret ballots, which employers fear could lead to worker intimidation and coercion to form union units more often.

Long-term care operators are among the employer groups against the proposal (S. 1041 in the Senate and H.R. 800 in the House). Approximately 12% to 15% of nursing home workers in the United States are union members, based on various estimates.
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