The most pro-worker federal labor legislation has been reintroduced

American Experiment has joined a coalition of organizations across the country urging Congress to empower American workers and protect their freedom of choice in the workplace.

Through the Employee Rights Act of 2023 (ERA), America’s antiquated labor code would be updated to better protect workers’ rights in the 21st century and would reflect the major changes our economy has undergone in recent generations.

The legislation was introduced today (April 19) by Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Rick Allen and includes a number of key provisions that are truly pro-worker, from giving all our nation’s workers the protections and choices they need and defending the rights of all workers to make the decision that is right for them regarding union membership.

Political Protection

Hundreds of millions of dollars in union dues are spent each year supporting political candidates and causes instead of collective bargaining issues. Government unions are notorious for almost exclusively financially supporting one political party and its affiliates, despite this not being reflective of all its members. The ERA would require workers to consent to their union dues going toward anything other than collective bargaining efforts.

Secret Ballot Elections

Because workers are legally represented by unions in workplace negotiations, such representation should be legitimized through the democratic process of secret ballot elections, in which workers vote in favor of such representation.

But unions can bypass private votes in favor of a public “card check” election, in which they go around collecting signatures of “cards” as evidence that a majority of workers want union representation. This opens up employees to potential harassment or intimidation to sign a card authorizing the union to represent them. Secret ballots ensure workers have a private, protected vote that represents their true preference for unionization in their workplace.

The ERA would ensure that any vote to organize a workplace or hold a strike is done via private ballot.

Employee Privacy Protections

Currently, employees do not have the ability to prevent their personal information from being disclosed to the National Labor Relations Board and to the union looking to represent them. The ERA would limit the amount of employee personal information a union receives during its organizing drive. “In addition, the bill makes it an unfair labor practice if the union uses employees’ personal information for any reason other than a representation proceeding,” the coalition letter explains.

Protections for Local Businesses

The Save Local Business Act included in the ERA clarifies the joint employer standard for small business owners and workers. “It would allow more franchisees to own their own businesses, giving more Americans the opportunity to realize their dream of starting their own business,” according to the coalition letter.

Protections for Independent Contractors

To provide clarity for both workers and employers, the ERA creates consistency with the definitions of an employee and independent contractor status. As noted in the coalition letter:

The ERA updates the current law to keep the definition of an “employee” in line with the common-law definition used by numerous state statutes and in recent Supreme Court rulings. This common-law test determines the appropriate classification for a given worker by relying primarily on the degree of control and independence that worker maintains.