EMPLOYEE RIGHTS ACT: WIN/WIN

From the desk of Steve Cabot: One of the truly unfortunate aspects of Organized Labor is how workers are regularly robbed of their rights by union leaders claiming to have their interests at heart. It happens when employees are denied secret ballot elections, sometimes with the complicity of management. It happens when union dues are funneled to causes or candidates antithetical to the preferences of individual members. And it happens when workers are punished for daring to question or object to union policies or decisions.

Relief – or at least the prospect of it – is now at hand in the form of the recently-introduced Employee Rights Act. This legislation protects the rights of workers while leaving intact the appropriate prerogatives of management and labor. It is truly a win/win proposal and has our wholehearted support.

Included among the major provisions are:

  • Secret Ballot Elections – Employees are guaranteed the right to a secret ballot election when choosing whether or not to join a union.
  • Union Recertification Elections – Unionized workplaces must hold a secret ballot referendum every three years to determine whether employees wish to remain represented by their current union.
  • Paycheck Protection – Unions will need to get written consent from members before spending their money on matters unrelated to collective bargaining (e.g. the support of political candidates or causes).
  • Standardized Election Timing – Employees must be given at least 40 days prior to a ratification election to receive and consider information from both management and union representatives.
  • Decertification Coercion Prevention – The NLRA provisions protecting workers from intimidation or coercion in exercising their rights (including the right to decertify the union) are strengthened.
  • Secret Ballot Strike Vote – Employees have the right to a secret ballot vote before union leaders can declare a strike.
  • Criminalizes Union Threats – Unions are forbidden to use violence, or threats thereof, as a means of coercing employees.

Passage of this legislation is unlikely before the 2012 elections, but employers seeking assistance now in these or other labor relations matters should call me on my cell phone (215-990-3423) or contact Georgetta McCabe, my administrative assistant, on her direct line: 800-655-2042.

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