Congress Must Pass the Employees Rights Act

This op-ed column was originally published at

By Rick Murray

Arizona’s economic success in recent years can be attributed to our pro-business environment, fiscal conservatism and common sense approach to government regulation. But it is Arizona employees that make and keep businesses strong. Their skills and productivity are the foundation success is built upon.

Despite Arizona’s right to work laws and current low rate of unionization, Arizona employees and businesses are increasingly exposed to big labor’s stranglehold on the workplace and economic growth. For too long, federal statutes have equated employees with unions and ceded workers; fundamental rights to the labor organizations claiming to represent them. As labor organizations are ramping up recruitment efforts in our state and fighting to maintain their influence in Washington, the interests of their members and potential members have fallen by the wayside.

That is why Congress must pass the Employees Rights Act.

This legislation would increase accountability by union leaders to members and allow employees to make the choice of whether to join, remain with, or leave a union by requiring a recertification vote whenever more than 50 percent of the workforce turns over. Federal statistics show a mere 7 percent of today’s workforce actually voted for their own union because certification was achieved decades before they were employed. In addition, certifying unions using public card checks rather than a secret ballot vote leave employees vulnerable to intimidation and threaten the integrity of the certification process.

In surveys, union members by 81 percent approved of the requirement that unions receive prior approval from its members before spending their dues on politics. To be clear, this legislation does nothing to hinder the right to unionization, but sets some basic rules to ensure fairness. Employees will continue to have the right to benefit from collective bargaining and other union benefits if they so choose. The Employees Rights Act guarantees employees greater transparency, enhanced accountability and a strong democratic process which ensures employees are treated as the valuable asset they are within Arizona’s economy.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and Congressmen Trent Franks, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert are a few of the prominent co-sponsors of S. 1874 / H.R. 3222, the Employee Rights Act, and should be commended for their support and taking a stand to guarantee the citizens of Arizona and our country their right to work.

Rick Murray is the CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association.