There aren’t enough Republicans in Congress to provide the votes needed to pass this new bill — let alone overcome a veto from President Biden. But that won’t stop me from talking about it and dreaming wistfully about one day what could be for my employer audience.
What is the Employee Rights of Act of 2022?
It’s a bill that Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) introduced in the Senate and House last week. The legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act. In Senator Scott’s words, the act “protects employees’ privacy, membership dues, and the union election process from being abused by union bosses.” Plus, it “provides all employees, independent contractors, and new gig economy workers the necessary protections so they can focus solely on their jobs.”
What does the Employee Rights Act accomplish?
- Secret Ballot Elections. Guarantee that a majority of all employees have a right to a secret paper ballot election. Prevents pressuring an employer to deny a secret ballot election.
- Union Decertification. Protects employees who have lost confidence in their union and are working with their employer to remove the union from having their wishes overturned by the union’s legal challenges.
- Political Protection. Require unions to receive opt-in permission from each member to use his or her union dues for purposes other than collective bargaining (e.g., political support).
- Majority Vote of All Employees. Changes the majority level in certification elections from a majority of present voters to a majority of all affected employees.
- Employee Privacy Protections. Gives employees the right to opt out of having their personal information shared with a union during an organizing campaign.
- Decertification Coercion Protection. Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit unions from intimidating or coercing employees from exercising their rights, including their right to decertify the union.
- Secret Ballot Strike Vote. Ensure that a majority of all employees in the bargaining unit have the right to a secret ballot vote before union leaders can declare a strike.
- Criminalized Union Threats. Forbid unions from using violence, or threats thereof, in an effort to coerce employees.
- Protections for Local Businesses. Give more Americans the opportunity to realize their dream of starting their own business.
- Gig Worker Benefits. Allows companies to extend benefits to independent contractors without the workers having to abandon their flexibility.
- NLRA Reform. Provide necessary structural reforms to America’s labor laws to address issues that have long been ignored by our unchanging labor code.
About 60 business groups have endorsed the act, with 22 co-sponsors in the Senate.
How does this compare to the PRO Act?
Senate and House Democrats introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (the PRO Act) earlier this year. Given that the PRO Act would make it easier for employees to form unions, the two are about as close right now as Chris Rock and Will Smith.
The only thing that they seem to have in common is that neither will become law. For now, here are some keys to remaining union-free (from Projections):
– Be proactive, not reactive
– Train your leaders
– Communicate regularly
– Maintain a safe & socially responsible working environment
– Be pro-worker
– Educate your employees based on your experiences
– Know how to recognize signs of unionization
(I have no affiliation with Projections. I just like the post.)