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Public Statements

Political Expression Without Fear

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to address the so-called card check legislation which was introduced in both the House and Senate yesterday.

As Americans, we expect to be able to vote on everything from high school class president to President of the United States in private. Workers expect the same right in union elections. This legislation goes against that fundamental right of political expression without fear of coercion.

We have had the secret ballot in this country for 100 years--130 years, at least--and it was common even before then. We have said to other countries around the world: If you want to have a democracy, you have to have a secret ballot. And yet this measure, to put it simply, would be better called the ``Employee No Choice Act.'' It is totally undemocratic. To approve it would be to subvert the right to bargain freely over working terms and conditions. It would strip members of a newly organized union of their right to accept or reject a contract.

In addition, this bill ushers in a new scheme of penalties which are antiworker and which apply only to employers and not to unions. Even though Americans have regarded secret ballot elections as a fundamental right--as I indicated earlier, for more than a century--some Democrats seem determined to strip that right away from American workers.

If this were not bad enough, a study released last week by economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar showed that if enacted, card check legislation could cost 600,000 American jobs--600,000 American jobs potentially lost. At a time when all of us are looking to stimulate the economy and put Americans back to work, we are threatening to undermine those efforts with this job-killing bill.

Republicans will oppose any legislation which attempts to undermine job creation, and we will oppose the effort to take away a worker's right to a secret ballot.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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