Democrats have long sought to get rid of secret ballots in union elections. Instead of allowing members to privately express their preferences without fear of reprisal, labor officials push for a card-check system under which workers simply sign a document indicating their organizing choice.
Now comes Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican, with the Employee Rights Act. Not only would the bill require secret ballot elections, it would also allow workers to vote every three years on whether to maintain their current union representation. In addition, the measure would block union officials from spending member dues on political advocacy without prior approval from members.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that unions can’t force members to donate to labor’s political endeavors. But unions make it difficult for individuals to recover such funds. That’s unfair, especially considering that while 40 percent of union households vote Republican in any given election, union officials have funneled more than $530 million to the Democratic Party and liberal special interest groups since 2012.
“This legislation will ensure individuals’ rights are upheld when considering whether or not they wish to join a union,” said Rep. Roe in a statement.
Last session, 170 members of Congress co-sponsored the bill. Americans should be free to join a labor organization, if they so choose. But workers must also be free to leave a union, to vote their conscience in a secret-ballot organizing election or to object when their mandatory dues are used to support causes they don’t support.
The Employee Rights Act deserves support.