By Elsa Heidorn
Laramie, WY – In his first vote today, Senator John Barrasso voted with Mike Enzi and many other Republicans to block a bill that would allow labor unions to organize without a secret ballot election. The bill was seen as a litmus test for which senators support organized labor and which ones support business Under current law, unions ask their members to sign cards with their names to vote on anything from wages to union leadership. A company can demand a secret ballot after a union presents the results. This bill would have done away with that secret ballot. Supporters of the measure, mostly Democrats, say that companies have greater access to workers during the secret ballot process, and that can intimidate them. They say the process has hurt union numbers over the years. On the floor of the senate Tuesday, Senator Enzi acknowledged that there are fewer unionized workers now than before, but he said that's not the fault of the current system. "I'd suggest that unions need to look elsewhere to explain this phenomenon. Many observers think the problem for unions is that many workers see them as out of step, too political," he said. Democrats could not get the 60 votes they needed to keep the bill alive.