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Daily Nonpareil

Another Union Re-certification Bill

Republicans in Congress are trying to once again pass a bill that will force all unions to hold costly re-certification elections

Kris LaGrange's picture
Nov 28, 2017

Back in June, UCOMM let our readers know about a plan that House Republicans were hatching called the Employees Right’s Act. This act was a wish list of proposals that would weaken labor unions. Since Republicans can’t get out of their own way in Congress, it has not progressed over the last 5 months. Instead of giving up, Republicans have now taken one of the more “popular” bills, union recertification, and are trying to pass it as a stand-alone bill.

The Current Employee Representation Act would require that unions hold a recertification election after 50% of their membership has turned over. This means that once 50% of the members who voted to join the union leave, the local must hold a recertification vote. According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, 94% of union members did not have to vote to join a union, instead, they chose to join it when they began working in a union workplace. Since this new law does not have a grandfather clause, nearly all locals in the country would be required to hold recertification elections.

 A similar bill to this has been pushed in certain Right to Work states. Iowa recently showed how unnecessary the recertification requirement is when 88% of the union members voted to stay with their union. While the vast majority of members voted to stay, the elections cost the locals millions since they had to pay for the entire election.  

Not only is the new law costly, but it is also completely unnecessary. Federal law already allows a workplace to decertify their union if they are unhappy with their representation. All it takes is 30% of the workers filing a petition and then a vote is held. If the majority of the workplace votes to decertify, then the union no longer represents them. With the current system, decertification is exceedingly rare.

The proposed law would also allow management to request a decertification vote. Currently, only the employees can request a vote since the union represents them, not management. If this bill becomes law, once the 50% threshold is hit, management can continually jam the local union up by requesting new elections.

So far the new bill already has 124 Republican sponsors. The main sponsors, Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Joe Wilson, R-S.C. all are sponsors of the larger anti-union Employee Rights Act.

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