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Four state Attorneys General draw battle lines in secret ballot lawsuit

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January 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia: In an interesting development concerning a federal lawsuit facing all four 2010 voter-approved secret ballot questions, the attorneys general from each of those four states declared their intentions to defend the will of their voters in a joint effort. The four attorneys general in those states include: South Carolina's Alan Wilson, Utah's Mark Shurtleff, Arizona's Tom Horne and South Dakota's Marty Jackley.

In response to the lawsuit, the AG's wrote a letter on January 27, 2011 to the National Labor Relations Board saying that they would "vigorously defend" the constitutional changes that were approved during the November 2, 2010, general election. The measures asked voters to decide whether or not secret ballots should be fundamental rights in determining if workers are represented by a specific labor organization. The NLRB was also urged to drop the lawsuit in the letter.[1]

A portion of the letter read, "You premise your proposed lawsuit on the erroneous conclusion that our constitutional provisions require elections when federal law does not. We do not believe that is true. Our amendment support the current federal law that guarantees an election with secret ballots if the voluntary recognition option is not chosen."

On January 14 officials of the National Labor Relations Board said the measures were unconstitutional and that the U.S. planned to invalidate the laws. Specifically, officials argue that the approved measures conflict with federal law and argue the case based on the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.[2]

According to reports, currently the National Labor Relations Act allows for employees to use two methods to choose a union: a secret ballot election conducted by the board or by asking an employer to recognize a union following majority support with signed authorization cards.[3]

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