Card-check opponents rally for state amendment

The possible passage of a new federal law next year has opponents scrambling to tighten state constitutions, including Nevada’s.

The Washington, D.C.-based business-backed coalition Save Our Secret Ballot launched a national initiative on Tuesday to tighten voters’ rights in state constitutions in anticipation of congressional approval of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow card checks for union representation sometime next year.

The efforts will start in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Arkansas and Missouri, with the campaign spreading to other states in the coming months, according to Ernest Istook, the coalition’s chairman and a former congressman from Oklahoma.

“We’re acting now to create state constitutional guarantees for secret ballots,” said Istook, who is a member of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “We want to avoid the efforts to create a bypass mechanism that can remove a right to secret ballots.”

The group is proposing a 47-word amendment to state constitutions that guarantees the secret ballot in union representation elections where “state or federal law requires elections for public office or public votes on initiatives or referenda, or designations or authorizations of employee representation.”

The language was authored by Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, which has said it will defend the legality of language where challenged.

While some of the organizers are going to work with their states’ legislators to have the amendment placed on the state ballots in 2010, Tibi Ellis, the Save Our Secret Ballot’s chairwoman in Nevada, said she plans to collect 60,000 signatures to have an initiative before voters.

Ellis said the issue is not a partisan or union issue, but rather it is about the fundamental right to conduct elections by secret ballot, whether for elected office or for labor-organizing efforts.

“Nevada protects the right of a voter by providing a protection of a vote without coercion or intimidation,” Ellis said. “We want to make sure any management or employer or other organization will not exert any pressure on any voting process.”

Ellis said vague wording already exists in the Nevada Revised Statutes, but it needs to be clarified to include all union elections.

NRS 293.2546 Section 3 reads: “The Legislature hereby declares that each voter has the right to vote without being intimidated, threatened or coerced.”

“We all grow up with the assumption that the secret ballot is a right, and it isn’t,” Ellis said. “And now it’s being threatened.”

The push for state constitutional amendments guaranteeing secret ballots highlights what is expected to be a big battle between unions and employers in the coming year.

Because employees still could request union elections under federal legislation, the proposed state constitutional amendments may ultimately have little effect, said Josh Goldstein, a spokesman for the union-backed group American Rights at Work.

“They’re using this messaging point on the secret ballot to demonize the legislation, but they’re neglecting the actual facts,” Goldstein said.

Representatives for Culinary Local 226, the area’s largest union with 60,000 members, and the Nevada AFL-CIO were not available for comment on Tuesday due to the holiday season.

Unions hope that the support of President-elect Barack Obama and a stronger Democratic majority can help win passage in 2009 of their top priority — the Employee Free Choice Act. The measure passed the House in 2007 but died in the Senate after a Republican filibuster.

The measure is designed to boost union membership by having employees sign union cards to form unions instead of holding secret ballot elections.

Unions say such elections give employers a chance to pressure their employees against unionization. By contrast, some businesses and the Save Our Secret Ballot group contend that unions will intimidate workers into signing union cards if businesses cannot demand a secret election.

Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at or 702-477-3893. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like