Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington came out strongly against a proposal to be taken up by the House of Representatives on Thursday that would allow voting in union elections to be observed by coworkers and union representatives.

The legislation, a product of the Democrat majority called "The Employee Free Choice Act (HR 800)," would replace the current election by private ballot supervised by the National Labor Relations Board with a new system under which employees would be allowed to simply sign a card in the presence of others, including co-workers, employers and union organizers. Under the current system, representatives of management and the union are permitted to challenge a person's eligibility to vote but are not permitted to be present as the vote is cast.

"The bill would tear down the election booth curtain and force workers to openly reveal their ballot intentions in deciding whether or not to join a union, subjecting them to inevitable threats and coercion," said Kirk Pickerel, president and CEO of ABC, in an email to Big Builder.

The organization dispatched letters stating its position to all 435 members of the House on February 27.