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Public Policy Issues

Since the beginning of collective bargaining in the United States decades ago, union membership has been determined primarily through secret-ballot elections of employee groups, as supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Today, labor unions are working hard to take away individuals’ rights to secret-ballot elections. Cintas not only believes this is wrong, but that it’s also un-American.

Given labor’s campaign to circumvent the secret-ballot process, it is ironic that:

  • Unions require secret-ballot elections in employee decisions to decertify a union;
  • Democratic leaders once wrote to government leaders in Mexico strongly urging the use of secret-ballot elections to determine worker unionization; and
  • Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, faced with proposals to forcibly merge smaller unions into larger organizations, believes union members should be allowed to vote on mergers, claiming: "you can’t bypass democracy."

Worker Attitudes

Even union workers disagree with union leadership on this issue. According to an independent poll of union households conducted by Zogby International and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

  • 84 percent believe that workers should have the right to vote on whether they wish to belong to a union;

  • 71 percent believe the existing secret-ballot process is fair;

  • 78 percent believe Congress should protect the existing secret-ballot process;

  • 63 percent believe stronger laws are needed to protect the existing secret-ballot process;

  • 62 percent believe that at least a two-thirds vote of employees should be required before a union is designated to represent all workers in a given location; and

  • Two-thirds believe that unions and companies should not have the right to bargain away individuals’ rights to secret-ballot elections.

  • According to the NLRB, unions continue to win representation in more than 60 percent of today’s elections.

At Cintas, we believe:

  1. U.S. labor laws provide a fair process of government-supervised elections to protect individuals’ decisions regarding unionization.

    • Conducting government-supervised, secret-ballot elections is the first priority of the National Labor Relations Board, as dictated by its fundamental statutes.

    • The process provides for fair determination of workers’ desires for or against union membership, and in a way that protects each individual’s decision from disclosure.
  2. Workers firmly support the secret-ballot process and believe it needs to be preserved in the United States.

    • Overwhelming majorities of even union members prefer the existing secret-ballot process, believe the existing process is fair, and believe stronger laws should be passed to protect the right of individuals to the democratic process.

    • Numerous newspaper editorial boards concur, citing the secret-ballot process as the most fair, democratic process to determine union membership.

    • Even union officials recognize the value of the secret-ballot process in making important decisions within their own organizations.
  3. Laws should be passed to protect the secret-ballot process for future generations of workers.

    • Labor has made a concerted effort to abolish the process through various legislative attempts and has promised to reintroduce such legislation in the future.