Press Releases

Senator John Thune issued the following statement praising the re-introduction of the "Secret Ballot Protection Act," which would make the right to a private ballot when voting to join a union mandatory. Senator Thune is an original cosponsor of the measure.

"Private ballots are a sacred cornerstone of American democracy," said Thune. "Any worker should be allowed to choose, in private, whether to have collective bargaining at the workplace - just like they choose in private the candidate of their choice in elections. This bill would protect the privacy rights of American workers by requiring secret ballot elections for union organization and prevent worker intimidation from either employers or union officials."

Under current law, unions are formed either though private, federally supervised elections, or through a procedure known as "card check." In card check organization, workers sign a document saying that they desire union representation. Unfortunately, this system makes the employee's union organization preference public, leaving them open to coercion and intimidation.

This legislation will help protect workers from the certification of unions through card check only, as mandated by a separate piece of legislation know as the "Employee Free Choice Act." Even though South Dakota is a "Right to Work" state, losing the right to a private ballot would negatively impact many important industries in the state, including tourism, health care, and many small businesses.

Under card check, all workers in a company must join the union after organizers collect cards signed by a majority, even if some of those workers did not know about the organizing drive and were never asked to sign a card.

"The right of workers to organize into unions has a long-standing, cherished place in the history of American labor," added Thune. "This measure seeks to ensure that right continues to be built around free and fair elections, not undue pressure from union leaders."