The principles of free speech and open competition

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The principles of free speech and open competition have long been cherished by Americans, but it appears that the current administration in Washington is poised to trample all over these rights in America’s workplaces when it comes to employee unionization.  In my time owning and working with other small businesses, I have always understood the value of employees to express their opinions on unionization, as well as their right to make informed decisions through a confidential and supervised secret ballot process. Unfortunately, the direction taken by the Biden administration and its allies threatens to curtail these rights.

Unions, in step with their friends in the White House, are advocating for legislative measures and executive actions that could potentially limit or eliminate a small business owner’s ability to communicate their perspective on unionization to their employees. This troubling new rule has been introduced under the so-called “neutrality agreements” on employers seeking federal grants. Under these agreements, unions would be allowed to present and campaign their case to the employee base, while the employers are forced into silence. Employers would not even be allowed to correct misconceptions or misinformation that union leaders may be using in their materials.  Such a stance contradicts the principles of openness and fairness that our nation stands for.

The stifling of employers’ voices flies in the face of established legal and judicial precedents. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently affirmed the right of employers to express their opinions on labor policies, a right that Congress codified into law over seven decades ago.

In addition to employers losing their free speech rights under these neutrality agreements, workers themselves lose their rights to a union election via a secret ballot. That’s because neutrality agreements also replace the traditional, NLRB-supervised election with the card check system.

In the spirit of safeguarding our fundamental values of free speech and open democracy, I urge our leaders here in Ohio, including Senator J.D. Vance, to champion the idea that open debate and the marketplace of ideas should remain untainted by these outside influences. Our democracy thrives when the most persuasive arguments prevail, regardless of who stands behind them.