Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

America’s Undemocratic Labor Movement

shutterstock_194916617In most union workplaces, democracy is a thing of the past.

The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk recently found that labor unions represent eight million employees, only 478,000 of whom—a dismal six percent—ever voted for the union currently “representing” their interests. That’s right: 94 percent of dues-paying union members never even voted in favor of their union representation. (This is consistent with an earlier analysis from the Center for Union Facts.)

Under current labor law, most unions have been grandfathered into the workplace—passed down from past generations, while current employees sit idly by and answer to union bosses whom they had no hand in electing. Worse yet, employees are guaranteed neither secret ballot union elections nor the opportunity to periodically re-assess their union representation through mandatory recertification votes. Leaving a union remains extremely difficult, as labor organizers have fostered a culture of intimidation pressuring employees and squashing dissent.

How can democracy be restored?

It’s easy: The Employee Rights Act (ERA), a popular piece of labor legislation which would guarantee secret ballot union elections and require union bosses to stand for re-election when a workplace experiences substantial turnover. Americans for Prosperity has more:

Extending [the right of recertification] to workers in the private sector would require congressional action, but thankfully, there is already a bill to do so. Congressman Tom Price and Senator Orrin Hatch’s “Employee Rights Act,” which was endorsed by Americans for Prosperity, would require periodic union recertification elections, among other reforms, and has over 160 cosponsors.

It’s no wonder that the ERA is supported by 80 percent of Americans, including those in union households.

All employees deserve democracy—and they need it now.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEmployee Rights ActEnding Secret Ballots