Are Strike Ballots Necessary?

by F. Anton



This article evaluates arguments and counterarguments involved in the proposed extension of government-sponsored strike voting. Federal experience with strike vote legislation in Canada and the United States was limited to a short period during World War II. Thus, the results may not be directly comparable with peacetime conditions. Other experience has been restricted to the postwar era and the data available cover relatively short periods. Nevertheless the data on supervised voting gathered from these sources reveal broadly similar results and appear to support the view that, in the majority of cases, employees will give approval to theft leaders to take strike action. This was so in all of the jurisdictions examined, although the proportion of affirmative votes varied. The evidence does not, however, permit any firm conclusion to be drawn regarding the efficacy or advantage of mandatory votes in preventing strikes. The evidence derived from the data can in no way support or denies the contention that strikes should not be permitted to occur unless a majority of the workers involved in a dispute signify their approval by secret ballot. But it is clear that the controversy over strike vote legislation arises to a large extent over differences of opinion on the procedures some think trade unions now follow and procedures they believe unions ought to follow before calling a strike.

California Management Review

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