The Religious Left at Work: God Hates Secret Ballots:

I've just received seen an e-mail from the AFL-CIO, sent on behalf of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice. The e-mail urges that "a scholar who supports Catholic social doctrine and its teachings on workers rights", to sign an on-line petition for the (misnamed) Employee Free Choice Act.

The e-mail says that EFCA may come up for a Senate vote before the Memorial Day recess. It also notes that "The Catholic weekly, America magazine, called EFCA the most important legislation in the past 72 years." America, which is run by the Jesuits, has long been very far to the left of most of the Catholic press in the United States, and of American Catholics. The right of workers to unionize is well-established in Catholic teaching. For example, in the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII stated:

The most important of all [civic organizations] are workingmen's unions, for these virtually include all the rest. History attests what excellent results were brought about by the artificers' guilds of olden times. They were the means of affording not only many advantages to the workmen, but in no small degree of promoting the advancement of art, as numerous monuments remain to bear witness. Such unions should be suited to the requirements of this our age - an age of wider education, of different habits, and of far more numerous requirements in daily life. It is gratifying to know that there are actually in existence not a few associations of this nature, consisting either of workmen alone, or of workmen and employers together, but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient. We have spoken of them more than once, yet it will be well to explain here how notably they are needed, to show that they exist of their own right, and what should be their organization and their mode of action.
Accordingly, laws which prohibit unions are a violation of natural law:
For, to enter into a "society" of this kind is the natural right of man; and the State has for its office to protect natural rights, not to destroy them; and, if it forbid its citizens to form associations, it contradicts the very principle of its own existence, for both they and it exist in virtue of the like principle, namely, the natural tendency of man to dwell in society.
I am unaware of anything in this encyclical, or anything else in formal Catholic teaching (a category which includes Papal encyclicals but does not include editorials in Catholic magazines) which says that workers should be forced to join (or pay dues to) a union which they do not wish to join, or which says that getting rid of secret ballot elections for unionization is a positive social good. Yes, I know that EFCA technically allows for secret ballots, but the purpose of EFCA's change in the "card check" rule is to eliminate both elections and secret ballots.