Hatch, Alexander introduce Employee Rights Act

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Members Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced the Employee Rights Act on Friday, which would bring the first significant reform to labor laws in more than 50 years in an effort to improve workers’ rights.

The measure would allow workers to choose whether or not unionize without fear of retribution by requiring that a secret balloting process be used. It would also require periodic union recertification using secret ballots and would prevent employee wages from being used for political activities without permission.

“This isn’t a Republican or a Democrat issue – this is a matter of fairness and basic worker rights,” Hatch said. “Employees should have the right to join a union or not, and they should be able to decide without being fearful of that decision. They should be able to cast a ballot in secret, just like Americans do at ballot boxes across the country.”

Hatch added that workers would have a right to decide how their union dues are spent and whether or not to go on strike if the bill is passed.

“The single biggest problem facing the American worker today is a persistently high unemployment rate, and yet union leaders insist on further weakening workers’ opportunities,” Alexander said. “This bill empowers employees by giving them a say in whether or not they want to join and pay dues to a union, ensuring the privacy of that decision and allowing employees to opt out of having all of their personal contact information and work schedule shared with union organizers.”

Twenty-two senators have cosponsored the bill.