January 18th, 2018
Employee Rights Act Strengthens Workers’ Rights
Employee rights in the workplace have gradually eroded over the last 50 years. The Employee Rights Act (ERA) is common-sense legislation that will help restore balance in the workplace by addressing several issues that today’s workers face.
The ERA would help strengthen and secure workers’ rights by:
- Restoring the secret ballot. The ERA would guarantee employees the right to a secret ballot vote—the cornerstone of American democracy—in union elections or to determine whether to strike. Currently, this right is often bypassed by unions through a process known as “card check.” A federally supervised secret ballot protects worker privacy and shields employees from undue pressure from both employers and unions.
- Empowering workers to re-certify unions. Under the ERA, unionized workplaces would need to hold a secret ballot referendum periodically to determine whether employees wish to remain unionized. This is key to protecting workers’ rights as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that only seven percent of currently unionized employees voted for the union in their workplace.
- Giving employees more say in how their dues are used for political purposes. There is a clear disconnect between political contributions made by unions and the voting patterns of union members. The ERA would give workers a greater say in how their dues are being contributed by requiring unions to obtain prior approval from employees to spend dues money on political parties, candidates, or advocacy.
- Updating the definition of “majority” in union certification votes. Currently, a union can form if it wins the support of a majority of voters, but not a majority of all affected employees. That means some unions have formed with less than half of affected voters even turning out to vote. The ERA would require a majority of the entire bargaining unit to vote in favor of unionization by secret ballot in order for a union to be organized.
The ERA is a long-overdue piece of legislation that would give power back to workers deciding whether to form a union. In addition to the above, the ERA would also protect employees from intimidation and coercion, safeguard their privacy, and more.