As part of its week-long series on Big Labor’s struggles, the Washington Examiner took a look at the Employee Rights Act (ERA), a piece of legislation that would grant individual employees more rights in the workplace. It’s past time the ERA got a hearing in Washington, as its provisions are supported by wide majorities. Each of the ERA’s seven provisions pulls at least 80 percent support including over 70 percent support from union households.
Examiner labor correspondent Sean Higgins sat down with the lead sponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) to get their thoughts on why America’s workers need the ERA. Sen. Hatch emphasized his personal experience when he was a tradesman and union member in Pennsylvania:
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, my father was a union member, and I learned his trade and so to do that I had to join the union […] I’ve never been against unions. I just think that the laws are stacked against the workers themselves; that’s why the Employee Rights Act makes sense.
Representative Price noted that it isn’t fair that less than ten percent of unionized workers even had the opportunity to vote on whether to be unionized:
We can have unions that have membership where only a single-digit percentage of the workers have ever voted for the formation of the union or the maintenance of that union. It begs credulity in the real world that unless you have periodic recertification elections that you’re going to get any responsible reflection of what the employees actually want.
Our Executive Director weighed in too, noting that the ERA would allow members to hold their unions accountable:
That’s why the ERA is so important. It would protect employees’ right to a secret ballot against Card Check — which considers support cards equal to a yes vote for paying union dues.
This continues a drumbeat of growing support and awareness for the ERA that recently included the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Trey Kovacs, and numerous op-eds by our Executive Director across the country. With the cause of employee rights gaining traction, how long can Congress refuse to advance the very popular ERA?