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John J. Sweeney

09/19/2008 - 5:00 a.m. CDT -- by John J Sweeney

At the heart of the fight to pass the federal Employee Free Choice Act is one issue: How do we ensure the freedom of working people to make their own decision about whether to form unions and bargain with employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions?

In American life, majority will is determined in a number of ways—by voice votes, standing votes, raised hands, mail balloting, in voting booths and in other forms. When workers try to form unions, majority will is established in one of two ways: Some responsible employers, such as Cingular Wireless, agree to recognize the union when a majority of workers votes by signing union-authorization cards. They recognize this as a free and fair way to assess workers’ choice that reduces workplace conflict and puts workers and management on a level playing field.

In most cases, however, employers force workers to endure the broken process of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) “election.” I put that sugar-coated w...

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