Labor’s Loss: Secret Ballot Protection Advances In Virginia

This week Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell struck a little heralded — but much needed — blow for privacy rights in the Old Dominion by signing two key bills: House Bill 1385, the “Secret Ballot Protection Act,” and House Bill 1931, the “KEEP Secure Act: Keep Employees Emails and Phones Secure Act.”

The “Secret Ballot Protection Act” will provide, according to legislation summary, that:

[I]n any procedure providing for the designation, selection, or authorization of a labor organization to represent employees, the right of an individual employee to vote by secret ballot is a fundamental right that shall be guaranteed from infringement.

A secret ballot is, of course, a cornerstone of the democratic process, and absolutely vital to ensuring elections free of intimidation and coercion — which explains why organized labor has so bitterly opposed secret ballot provisions, preferring insetad so-called “card check” laws whereby, as we put it in a previous OpenMarket post, “new unions can be formed with signatures from only a majority of a company’s employees on a card which union officials kindly bring right to your door.”

Unions will equally loathe the “KEEP Secure Act,”which will ensure that employers cannot be forced to share private information about current or former employees to “a third party…unless required by federal law, state law, court order, warrant issued by a judicial officer, subpoena, or discovery.” This, too, will make it harder for labor leaders to intimidate workers into joining a union.

Both bills had been championed by spearheaded by Delegate Barbara Comstock, who said in a statement:

The signing of the Governor of these bills is a victory for the rights of workers and for protecting employees in the workplace.

Indeed. Kudos to Comstock for her tireless efforts on behalf of worker freedom, and kudos to the governor for joining her in the fight.