ERA Would Protect Members’ Paychecks from Others’ Politics

Last Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) re-introduced the Employee Rights Act (ERA), a comprehensive piece of legislation that would revamp and revitalize America’s Depression-era labor laws. A key provision of the ERA is paycheck protection, a reform that would require unions to gain the affirmative consent of members before using dues money for political purposes. Our Senior Research Analyst took to Fox News’s Fox and Friends to lay out the case for this provision.

Labor unions put over 90 percent of their political donations towards Democratic candidates, but exit polling consistently shows that roughly 40 percent of union household members vote for Republicans. Under the current system — established by a Supreme Court decision titled Communication Workers of America v. Beck — union members in non-right-to-work states who don’t want to support candidates the union supports must typically resign their union memberships and file official “objection letters” to obtain rebates of their share of the union’s political contributions.

The ERA would simplify this process, allowing dissenting members to refrain from signing up to the political program rather than filing their own objections. Additionally, other provisions of the ERA would guarantee that regardless of the unions’ actions, political dissenters would not be disenfranchised from voting by secret ballot on contracts and whether to strike (as they frequently are now).