Hatch introduces bill aiming to restore worker protections

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on Thursday would protect workers’ rights through a variety of reforms, including requiring unions to get member approval before using dues on anything but collective bargaining and mandating secret ballots on votes to unionize or strike.

Under the bill, the Employee Rights Act, workers would also have the ability to opt-out from having their personal information shared with unions during organizing campaigns under the bill. In addition, unions would be required to recertify to ensure continued member support after periods of high workforce turnover.

“Anyone whose real concern is preserving the rights of individual workers should support the Employee Rights Act, which addresses many issues plaguing Americans in the workplace,” Hatch said. “This comprehensive workers’ rights bill does not include a single provision that empowers employers at the expense of unions. The only parties whose position will be improved by this legislation are employees. The Employee Rights Act is not a Democrat or Republican issue — it is simply a common sense solution to champion workers’ rights and strengthen our economy.”

The bill would also rollback the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush election” rule. That rule reduces how long it takes for workers to vote to unionize, requires employers to share employee contact information with unionizing campaigns and requires employers to file a formal statement of position within seven days of hearing notice being served.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a cosponsor of the bill and the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said the bill’s changes to labor laws would restore and protect the rights of workers.

“The Employee Rights Act guarantees employees the right to a secret ballot election when deciding whether to join a labor union,” Alexander said. “The bill will also roll back harmful actions taken by the Obama administration that threaten the rights of workers, such as the ambush elections rule, which forces union elections before many employees know what is going on. The rule also harms workers’ privacy by providing union organizers with employees’ information like their cell phone number and work schedules, even if they’ve chosen to reject the union.”