Feb. 9, 2007 -- The National Restaurant Association is denouncing a proposed federal bill that seeks to replace the secret-ballot voting process with employee signature cards for restaurant workers considering unionization.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), is currently before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

"No one -- employers or union organizers -- should fear an election conducted by secret ballot," Steven Anderson, the trade group's president and CEO, said in a statement on Thursday. "It is the only way to protect an individual's freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion."

Under the so-called "card-check" system, employees' signatures are made available to employers, union organizers, and co-workers. Anderson said.

The National Restaurant Association represents more than 12 million employees at some 935,000 restaurants and foodservice stations nationwide.

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