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Loudon, Akin join business groups opposing "card check"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Todd Akin and former state Sen. John Loudon report that they met Wednesday with members of the Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri Retailers Association, among others, to discuss their concerns and opposition to the proposed Employee Free Choice Act.

The session at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Chesterfield was organized by a new Missouri group called Save Our Secret Ballot. Loudon, R-Chesterfield, is the chairman. Akin, R-Town and Country, has been an outspoken opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Also known as "card check," the proposed Employee Free Choice Act is strongly supported by labor unions, who spent time and money last year helping elect President Barack Obama. The Act, which now is before Congress, would allow workers to vote for union representation simply by filling out cards.

If a majority of the employees at a firm did so, the union would be approved as their representative. If the workers chose, a secret-ballot vote would be held. Now, a secret-ballot vote is required, but backers of card-check say that companies often delay such a vote while they intimidate or fire employees.

In a statement, the opposition group is described "an organization formed to preserve and protect the fundamental right of individuals to vote by secret ballot, where local, state or federal law requires elections for public office or ballot measures, or requires designations or authorizations for employee representation, the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed."

Loudon said the statement:

nd government intrusion into the management of private enterprise America has ever faced. Congress is just one or two votes away from passing EFCA, which will cripple Missouri companies with as few as 10 employees. That’s why we must act now to protect the secret ballot in union organizing elections.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.