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Carnahan agrees with GOP: She supports pro-union Employee Free Choice Act

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 21, 2009 - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, is seeking to put any confusion to rest about her stance on the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act.

She supports it.

Carnahan's Republican critics had been maintaining as much for days, particularly in the wake of last Friday's endorsement by the national Teamsters Union. But at the joint news conference in Kansas City, some reporters indicated they weren't sure of Carnahan's views on the proposed Employee Free Choice Act.

"Robin is supportive'' of the Employee Free Choice Act,'' said campaign spokesman  Tony Wyche. "She's not sure what the final version of the bill is going to look like or if she'd ever get to vote on it, but she thinks that workers should be able to organize and that we need to restore balance and opportunity for the middle class."

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act, also known as "card check,'' would allow a company's workers to approve a union for their workplace if a majority sign cards in favor.  If the employees desire, a secret ballot also could be conducted.

Now, a secret ballot is required. Opponents of the proposed Act, primarily Republicans, contend workers will be intimidated by unions to sign the cards and not to hold an election. Supporters say workers now are intimidated by companies, who can delay the secret ballot elections while they pressure workers and fire those deemed pro-union.

Carnahan's only announced Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford, has made a point of emphasizing his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

The two candidates' stances are not surprising. Unions generally back Democrats. Major businesses generally support Republicans.

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.

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