INDIANAPOLIS | A proposed constitutional amendment requiring a secret ballot be used in union organizing elections is set for a final Senate vote Tuesday after the Republican-controlled chamber rejected a change that would have forced all private groups to use secret ballots in their elections.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, suggested adding civic, nonprofit, church, fraternal and other organizations to the secret ballot requirement for unions included in the proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 2.
"If it's good enough to apply to the unions, why isn't it good enough to apply to all elections in the state of Indiana?" Tallian asked.
State Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, seemed to endorse secret ballots for all before launching into an anti-union tirade that suggested unions are against secret ballots so they can intimidate workers into voting for a union.
Young later relied on an Arizona court decision to defend the proposed amendment when state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, questioned how Indiana could put conditions on elections required under federal law.
Tallian's proposal was defeated on a party-line vote, 12-37.
The amendment is intended to block a proposed federal law, known as "card check," that would allow a workplace union to form without an election if more than half the employees signed union authorization cards.
The proposed amendment states: "The right to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. If any Indiana or federal law requires or permits an election for any designation or authorization of employee representation, the right of any individual to vote by secret ballot in any such election is guaranteed."