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Voters approve secret-ballot proposition for union organizing (Read More…)

Nov 3, 2010 - Rebecca L. McClay Cronkite News Service

Employees interested in forming a union in Arizona may find the process a little lengthier after voters approved a proposition requiring a secret ballot vote.

Unofficial returns Tuesday night showed Proposition 113 passing with a wide lead.

The proposition is a move to counter proposed federal legislation called the Employee Free Choice Act that would eliminate the option of a secret ballot if a majority of workers sign a petition in favor of unionizing.

Supporters of the proposition, aimed at making a secret ballot mandatory after workers petition to form a union, say that without confidentiality employees are vulnerable to pressure to join in.

“We don’t just want to kill the Employee Free Choice Act, we want to kill the idea,” said Lucy Caldwell, spokeswoman for Save Our Secret Ballot, a Las Vegas-based national organization that was backing similar measures in South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. “This speaks to the importance of the issue … hopefully it represents a change in tide.”

Opponents including the AFL-CIO and Arizona Education Association had argued that employers would intimidate workers in the time required to conduct a secret vote.

Linda Brown, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, said she was “extremely disappointed” that the proposition passed. She said she thought voters were confused by the title of the proposition – Save Our Secret Ballot.

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