Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

With Momentum and Personal Stories, Hatch and Price Reintroduce Employee Rights Act

Karen never got a vote

Today, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) are re-introducing the Employee Rights Act, a reform proposal that will bring America’s Depression-era labor laws in line with a 21st Century workplace. In support of that effort, we’re highlighting the stories of six employees who were victims of union abuses and now support the reforms in the bill. We’ve made a video introducing them and the principles behind the bill, which you can view below.

Karen Cox came to work one day and found her cold-storage workplace unionized without a vote. David Shirey, a school bus driver from Pennsylvania, is sick of his union dues funding union bosses’ political cronies. Lee Carey, a Los Angeles Times press operator, believes he should be able to hold his union accountable for its campaign promises by automatic  re-certification elections. You can hear them and three other victims of union abuses tell their stories at

All told, the Act would make major reforms to federal labor law. Each major reform is supported by substantial majorities approaching and frequently exceeding 80 percent support including  union households. The reforms include:

  • Secret Ballot Elections — ERA guarantees that a majority of all employees have a right to a secret paper ballot election. Prevents unions pressuring an employer to deny a secret ballot election;
  • Political Protection — ERA requires unions to receive opt-in permission from each member to use his or her union dues for support of politics or interest groups;
  • Union Recertification Elections — ERA mandates that all unionized workplaces  hold a secret ballot referendum after half of the employees  have moved on since the last certification of union states;
  • Employee Privacy Protection — ERA gives employees the right to opt out of having their personal information shared with a union during an organizing campaign;
  • Decertification Coercion Prevention — ERA strengthens the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit unions from intimidating or coercing employees from exercising their rights, including their right to decertify the union.
  • Secret Ballot Strike Vote — ERA ensures that a majority of all employees in the bargaining unit have the right to a secret ballot vote before union leaders can declare a strike.
  • Criminalizes Union Threats — ERA creates a new federal right that forbids unions from using violence, or threats in pursuit of union objectives.

We expect union bosses to raise hell with President Obama and Democratic congressmen if  they support these common sense labor reforms.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEmployee Rights ActPolitical Money