National Survey Suggests Union Workers at Odds With Union Officials Over Organizing Tactic

Majority Would Not Forgo Private-Ballot Elections

For Immediate Release

MIDLAND –With the National Labor Relations Board considering a "card-check" case widely viewed as the most important labor policy dispute in a decade, a survey of union workers conducted by Zogby International for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy finds that by a 53 percent-to-41 percent margin, most union members would prefer the current secret-ballot system to one in which union organizers need only gather a majority of signatures before a workplace becomes unionized – the very procedure used in "card check."

The survey further suggests that union employees would oppose card-check initiatives even more strongly if they saw the card-check system as a threat to their privacy and to existing government protections:

  • 78% would keep the current secret-ballot process, rather than replace it with one less private.

  • 71% agree that the current government-supervised, secret-ballot process is fair.

  • 66% do not think their company and union organizers should be able to make a special agreement to bypass secret-ballot elections.

  • 63% believe stronger laws are needed to ensure the existing secret-ballot process lets members make their decisions about forming a union in private.

"The survey suggests a potential backlash on this issue," notes Joseph Lehman, executive vice president of the Mackinac Center, a nonprofit think tank. "Workers prefer a government-supervised secret ballot to the easily abused ‘card check’ favored by union officials, even though our data show 68 percent of union workers actually wish that someone other than the government would oversee the secret-ballot elections."

The survey of 703 union members was conducted from June 25 to June 28, 2004. Its margin of error is ± 3.8 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. A full listing of the survey results can be found at

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