A former State Senator behind the effort to bring about a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Missourians the right to secret ballot elections is optimistic he will have the signatures needed by next April’s deadline to get the issue on the November, 2010 ballot. In fact, John Loudon – Chairman of Save Our Secret Ballot/Missouri – hopes to have the additional 150,000 signatures collected by this fall.
“We have collected 40,000,” said Loudon in an interview with the Missourinet. “And we need to get the rest by next April. However, my goal is to try to get on the ballot – to qualify for the ballot – by this fall and we’re well on pace to do that.”
Loudon is starting the second week of a statewide tour to make Missourians aware of the effort and to enlist support.
“What we’re doing is we’re going around and we’re speaking with business groups, the press, interested citizens and explaining that Congress is, in fact, poised to strip your right to a secret ballot, and we have a way to preserve it,” said Loudon. “And that is a constitutional amendment guaranteeing everybody the right to a secret ballot.”
The impetus for this effort is a bill known as the Employee Free Choice Act – legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize workplaces by eliminating the need for secret ballot elections should enough employees sign union cards expressing interest in organizing. Opponents claim removal of the secret ballot leaves open the possibility of coercion and intimidation by some employees against their colleagues. Loudon and other opponents see this as payback to the unions for their support for Democrats.
“Absolutely,” said Loudon. “The unions are so champing at the bit to get this done. The Teamsters, for one, have announced they’re hiring a thousand new organizers.”
What appears to be a compromise in the U.S. Senate might eliminate the majority sign-up provision, but there is no guarantee this compromise will still be around if and when the actual legislation is voted on.
The tour made stops, last week, in St. Louis, Springfield, and Joplin. A stop in Cape Girardeau is scheduled for Monday. The tour wraps up August 13th in Kansas City.