Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Tennessee Workers Deserve the Right to a Secret Ballot Vote

Today, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) will run a full-page ad in the Chattanooga Times Free Press asking why the United Auto Workers (UAW) won’t give Tennessee Workers a secret ballot vote.

The ad highlights new legislation introduced earlier this week in Tennessee that would protect the secret ballot vote in union elections on tax-payer funded projects. It also points out that when UAW members recently voted on who should be their next President, they were allowed to do so through a secret ballot. Workers that the UAW or any union want to organize should be afforded the same right.

The ad features a union leader wearing an “I know how you voted” pin to emphasize how without secret ballots, no vote is private. The UAW supports a “card” check” system over secret ballot votes for its members. UAW President Ray Curry was recently quoted praising the union’s ability to organize a battery plant in Michigan: “Because of the foresight of collective bargaining, the UAW will be able to organize this new facility using a card check to prove majority interest.”

The ad is meant to educate the public and workers about the bill and direct them to learn more about the importance of secret ballots at

The legislation mentioned in the ad was introduced last Tuesday by Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton. The bill would require companies receiving state subsidies to guarantee workers a secret ballot election during union organizing drives. It would also bar businesses from sharing employees’ personal information with labor groups.

Right now, employers are allowed to recognize a union via a method known as “card check.” This system requires the union to get a majority of employees to publicly sign a union authorization card. It’s a largely unregulated system that puts employees at risk for coercion, intimidation and even bullying from union organizers.

Fortunately, this bill would make sure that any company benefiting from tax payers dollars would also respect workers’ choice and the right to a secret ballot vote in union elections.

Categories: UAWWorkplace Election Integrity