National Labor Relations Board Loses Lawsuit to Block Arizona's "Secret Ballot" Law

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Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne called today's decision upholding Arizona's "secret ballot" law a "stinging rebuke" to the National Labor Relations Board.

Just got word from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's office that U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone today upheld the state's "secret ballot" law.

The voter-approved law was intended to block potential national legislation pushed by labor unions that would have allowed unionization in companies without a secret-ballot election by employees. Instead, unions wanted to be allowed to force their organizations on companies by collecting cards signed by employees over time.

Horne called Martone's decision a "stinging rebuke" to the National Labor Relations Board, which had sued Arizona to halt the law from taking affect.

A copy of Horne's news release follows:


PHOENIX (Wednesday, September 5, 2012) -- In a rebuke to a 2011 Obama administration demand calling for Arizona to repudiate the voter-approved protection of secret balloting in union elections, U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone today granted Summary Judgment in favor of the State's position that the law is constitutional, Attorney General Tom Horne announced.

"This is a stinging rebuke to an outrageous National Labor Relations Board attack made in 2011 when that panel tried to subvert the sanctity of the secret ballot," Horne said. "As I said at the time, this intimidation by our own elected leaders must stop, and today's court decision is a welcome step in that direction. Judge Martone's ruling makes it clear that the 2010 state constitutional amendment requiring that union elections be held using a secret ballot as opposed to using the so-called 'card-check', cannot be overruled by the bureaucrats at the NLRB. This is a tremendous victory not only for the people of Arizona, but for the institution of free elections for all people, a cherished right for which our forebears fought a revolution."

He added, "Four states, including Arizona, passed similar constitutional amendments. The NLRB threatened all four states, that if they did not voluntarily negate their amendments, the NLRB would sue. All four states refused to be intimidated. However, the NLRB only sued Arizona, so Arizona successfully carried the ball for the entire country on this important issue concerning our basic freedoms."

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Horne has overstated his claim of "victory" over the NLRB.  Here is what the NLRB has to say about Judge Martone's decision.



Judge Frederick J. Martone on Sept. 5 granted the state’s motion to dismiss the case but left the door open for future action. “It is possible that state litigation invoking (the amendment) may impermissibly clash with the NLRB’s jurisdiction to resolve disputes over employee recognition, conduct secret ballot elections, and address unfair labor practices,” he wrote. But because the amendment has not yet been applied, Judge Martone wrote, he could not assume that it would conflict with the NLRA.

The court’s decision made clear that federal labor law provides for two ways for employees to choose a union: “A bargaining representative may be voluntarily recognized by an employer if there is convincing evidence of majority support. Alternatively, the NLRB may certify a union as the bargaining representative after it conducts a secret ballot election.”</BLOCKQUOTE>


Clearly the judge has upheld the concept of the NLRA having supremacy over state law.  He's just saying this case isn't the proper way to definitively say so, since the state has not yet tried to apply the law. 

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