From the Department of Government Stupidity: the federal government has threatened to sue four states should they dare to guarantee secret ballots in union elections:
The National Labor Relations Board on Friday threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.
The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the amendments conflict with federal law, which gives employers the option of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards that support unionizing.
The amendments, approved Nov. 2, have taken effect in South Dakota and Utah, and will do so soon in Arizona and South Carolina.
Business and anti-union groups sought the amendments, arguing that such secrecy is necessary to protect workers against union intimidation. They are concerned that Congress might enact legislation requiring employers to allow the “card check” process for forming unions instead of secret ballot elections.
In letters to the attorney general of each state, Solomon says the amendments are pre-empted by the supremacy clause of the Constitution because they conflict with employee rights laid out in the National Labor Relations Act. That clause says that when state and federal laws are at odds, federal law prevails.
Solomon is asking the attorneys general in South Dakota and Utah for official statements agreeing that their amendments are unconstitutional “to conserve state and federal resources.”
In other words, “play along and we won’t bankrupt you in court.”
I’m no expert in the Supremacy Clause, but labor relations have traditionally fallen under a state’s police powers, though that’s been eroded over at least the last 80 years, since the New Deal, as the Fed has claimed a greater role.
But, really, does anyone seriously think this is anything other than an attempt force card-check through via regulation, instead of legislation, where it’s dead in the water? This is another case of arrogance on the part of unelected bureaucrats against the elected representatives of the peoples of four states, and I hope these states fight it tooth-and-nail.