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Anti-union amendment surfaces as crossover deadline approaches
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 08:51

(RALEIGH) --  The State House Rules Committee unveiled a bill Tuesday night that would make it harder for unions to organize in North Carolina. After gutting a bill that would create a task force to study economic development governance, the panel approved a constitutional amendment that would guarantee secret ballots on votes to join labor unions.

Currently under the federal National Labor Relations Act, unions can be formed when a majority of workers sign a card that indicates their desire to collectively bargain. Workers can also opt for a secret ballot in an election that would be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. However, bill supporters say the card check option creates a scenario where union leaders can intimidate workers to join.

Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, said right-to-work states such as North Carolina have been under siege from unions, who are working in conjunction with the NLRB. “We see it coming,” he said. “We feel that this is a responsible way to protect our citizens - that should be able to have the right to vote by secret ballot – from being subjected to a card-check type policy that is destined to get here if we don’t stop it now.”
But opponents said the proposed amendment would put North Carolina at odds with federal labor laws. “It seems like a waste of our time here at the General Assembly to take up a bill which the National Labor Relations Board has clearly said is in violation of the U.S. Constitution,” said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham.
Four other states – Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah – have passed similar laws which are now being challenged in court. MaryBe McMillan of the AFL-CIO told the committee that the state legislation would almost certainly lead to another lawsuit. Likewise, she argued that fight would cost the state a lot of money. “I would hope that our Legislature would have its priorities right,” McMillan later added.
Moffitt said that states’ 10th Amendment rights have been undermined “We’re a representative republic. Until we as an elected body stand up to the federal government and say enough is enough, then I think that we’ll continue to have bad policy decisions infringing upon the rights of our citizens,” said Moffitt. “Where do you stop? This is a good start.”

The measure passed the Rules Committee on a vote of 12-7.  The bill now heads to the House floor.



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