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Secret Ballot Protection Act

March 1, 2009

On February 25, 2009 U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act (SBPA), legislation designed to guarantee American workers a secret ballot election on whether to join a union. The Act has 16 original co-sponsors, all Republican.

Simultaneously, U.S. Congressman John Kline (R-Minnesota) and Tom Price (R-Georgia), as well as Buck McKeon (R-California), have introduced the SBPA in the House of Representatives, with over 100 co-sponsors.

The Bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to make it an unfair labor practice for an employer to recognize, or bargain with, a union that has not been selected by a majority of employees in a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also would make it an unfair labor practice for a union to cause or attempt to cause an employer to recognize or bargain with a union that has not been selected in a secret ballot NLRB election.

The SBPA is meant as a counter to the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which would amend the NLRA to require the NLRB to certify a union as a representative of employees if a majority of employees sign union authorization cards. The Act would effectively eliminate NLRB conducted secret ballot elections.

For more information about the Secret Ballot Protection Act or the Employee Free Choice Act, contact Kelley Stoppels (616) 336-6471 or any attorney in Varnum's Labor and Employment Relations Practice Team.

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