Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

New Hampshire AFL-CIO Allegedly Disenfranchises Members

electionAmerica’s labor unions are not fans of private votes, as their support of the anti-democratic public “card check” representation procedure clearly demonstrates. And their support of “union democracy”—internal procedures to allow members a say in the union’s governance—is rhetorical at best. The latest example comes from New Hampshire, where the state AFL-CIO declared its President, Mark MacKenzie, re-elected by disqualifying allegedly legal ballots.

The New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper reports on the methods the incumbents used to toss out ballots:

The results of an election that saw longtime New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie retain his post by a margin of fewer than two dozen votes are being challenged amid allegations that hundreds of votes cast for the runner-up were invalidated because members used check marks to indicate their preference rather than an “X” mark, according to an internal letter obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader.


The appeal was filed by Glenn Brackett, business manager of the New Hampshire International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who lost the election 4,230 to 4,209, but wrote that 691 votes that were invalidated would have changed the results of the election.

The inclusion of these “lost” votes would do more than raise the final vote tally—it would actually swing the election. Local TV station WMUR reports that the 21-vote margin of victory for the incumbent should have been a 600+ vote loss with all votes counted. The loser has appealed to national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka himself, who can override the decision of the state union.

The lengths to which it appears some in the New Hampshire AFL-CIO were willing to go to ensure that the incumbent stayed in power illustrates the sham of internal union officer elections. Instead, a real stick is needed, one operated outside of the union system—and recertification, requiring unions to periodically show that they retain majority support, is an important step to ensuring a real employee voice in the workplace.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEmployee Rights Act