PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - August 6, 2020 


Facebook removes a Trump post because of "deceptive" COVID19 claims; small businesses seek more pandemic relief.


2020Talks - August 6, 2020 


Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

Unions Want Electronic Voting Ban Lifted

In 2012, a federal appropriations provision prohibited a key federal agency from developing electronic voting infrastructure for union elections. The U.S. House is trying to change that. (Adobe Stock)
In 2012, a federal appropriations provision prohibited a key federal agency from developing electronic voting infrastructure for union elections. The U.S. House is trying to change that. (Adobe Stock)
July 15, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Job cuts in Minnesota and across the country have ignited calls from labor groups to lift a federal ban on electronic voting in union elections. They say the pandemic is limiting options for workers to fight for their jobs and better working conditions.

Several national unions want Congress to adopt a bipartisan bill that would no longer prevent their members from casting votes electronically on labor issues.

Dan Mauer, director of government affairs for the Communications Workers of America, said the move also would help front-line workers who are considering unionizing as a result of the crisis.

"Workers are facing threats, like furloughs and layoffs; being forced to go to work without PPE; sometimes facing not having the paid leave that they need," he said.

In March, the National Labor Relations Board temporarily halted voting by unions because of health concerns from the pandemic. It has since issued safety guidelines, but unions have said they don't provide assurances that votes held in COVID-19 hot spots will be safe for participants.

The Board has said it used a wide range of input for the guidelines, but unions have said they were left out of the process.

Mail-in voting is an option for unions, but labor leaders say some companies, such as media giant Gannett, have resisted that approach during the crisis. Gannett has disputed those claims.

The unions fear that companies will use the pandemic to delay votes, or force in-person elections where workers might be reluctant to attend. Mauer said he thinks remote elections are a better course of action.

"We think it's just time for the NLRB to get in the 21st century and use all the tools available to it," he said.

Mauer said there's proven technology that can be implemented. The National Mediation Board, which handles labor issues for the airline and railroad industries, uses electronic voting.

The proposal in Congress calls for $1 million for the National Labor Relations Board to develop its own infrastructure, or use the Mediation Board's system if that can't happen. The NLRB hasn't taken a stand on it.

The text of HR 7485 is online at congress.gov.

Disclosure: Communications Workers of America contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN