Pass Bill to Stop Unions’ Undermining of Employees Rights

This op-ed column was originally published at

By Catherine Templeton

Until February, South Carolina has the focus of the nation.

Candidates from both parties are canvassing our state and asking for your support in their efforts to become the next president of the United States.

While we have the floor, let’s make sure we use it!

Our state and our governor have been extremely successful in recent years with job growth and recruitment.

We have seen industries of all types come to nearly every corner of South Carolina.

We are fortunate to have added to our base while other states are struggling to simply maintain what they have.

With the increase in jobs, we’ve also seen significant population growth, and many who now proudly call South Carolina home, come from states where labor unions are prevalent and influential.

Right now, South Carolina has the second lowest unionization rate in the country.

It is imperative that our citizens understand the benefit of working in a non-unionized environment.

It is also important that our employees retain the right to work union-free, to vote by secret ballot, to have their votes count, to protect their private information from union organizers, and to limit where their hard-earned money goes, once a labor union takes it.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board is continuously issuing rules that take away these employee rights, one at a time.

To override the erosion of individual rights, the Employee Rights Act, recently introduced in Congress, provides protections for employees with respect to their right to select or refuse to agree to intervention by a union.

This bill is an appropriate step to ensuring that employees in all states, and in all industries, have a greater voice if and when a union vote takes place.

The Employee Rights Act requires, among other things, that employees keep the right to have a fair secret ballot election when deciding whether or not to be unionized.

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the act makes sure the voice of every employee counts, not just those who show up to vote at the union election.

The Employee Rights Act protects the individual’s right to privacy when a union wants to use the employee’s personal information, such as where he lives or what her phone number is, to solicit the employee.

The act also prevents the union from spending the employee’s hard-earned money on politics, political parties, and political candidates of the union’s choice.

It speaks highly of our South Carolina congressional delegation that some of our state’s federal lawmakers have signed on to this bill and, with your voice, the rest should follow.

To educate yourself further, go to

And if you are fortunate enough to have face time with any of the candidates for president, let them know that South Carolina wants to see this bill passed by the next president of the United States.

Catherine Templeton is the former secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for South Carolina.