This will sort the public sector unions for you

In the US union busting laws are being promulgated as States seek to reign in out of controls state sector unions. One such law is the Employee Rights Act:

For the first time in decades, union power is under serious threat. Indiana is on the verge of becoming the 23rd state to enact a right-to-work law, liberating workers from being forced to join a union. New Hampshire may also adopt some form of right-to-work. Murmurs about a national right-to-work law are growing. Public sector unions continue to face efforts to curb their power and trim their lavish contracts.

And now there’s a shrewd new challenge to organized labor: the Employee Rights Act. It would take labor law in a new direction. Unlike right-to-work statutes, which help businesses escape unionization, the ERA would protect union workers from high-handedness and abuses of power by their union leaders.

The measure was formulated by Richard Berman, a Washington lobbyist and longtime foe of excessive union power in labor relations and politics. It’s been passionately embraced by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and 20 other Republican senators. In the House, its chief sponsor is Tim Scott of South Carolina, a star of the freshman class of 87 Republicans.

Sounds promising, but what does it do?

What the ERA would do is entirely sensible. The most striking of its seven reforms would force unions to face a “recertification” election every three years, allowing workers to decide if they want to stick with their current union. Hatch says that “less than 10 percent” of union members today have ever voted on whether to have or keep a union. Another part of the measure would prevent union leaders from “intimidating or coercing employees from exercising their rights, including the right to decertify the union.”

That’s strong medicine. The rest of the ERA would guarantee secret ballot elections, give members the right to refuse to back their union’s political operations, require at least 40 days to hear both sides before voting to certify or decertify a union, require a secret ballot vote before a strike, and make it a crime for unions to use violence or threats to coerce members.

Notice the emphasis of all seven provisions. It’s on the individual rights of employees, not on economic concerns. Right-to-work laws let workers decline to join a union, but they are usually promoted as a tool for attracting business to a state and increasing jobs. By the way, 108 economists have endorsed the act.

Before the Nervous Nellie wets of National’s caucus have conniptions as to how this would be received, look at the polling on each of the seven provisions.

Berman hired the Opinion Re-search Corporation to survey union and nonunion households to gauge the ERA’s popularity. Only the secret ballot requirement drew less than 80 percent support. It was backed by 78 percent of both union and nonunion households.

Here’s the most surprising result: Eighty-four percent of nonunion and 83 percent of union households favor an election every three years to recertify or jettison the union. And 85 percent of nonunion and 88 percent of union households back the need for a majority of members to approve a strike.

That would sort out the Maritime Union for sure.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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