Empower Workers, Not Unions with Political Agendas

Claire Waites, an Alabama school teacher who joined the local teachers union to obtain liability insurance, was pressured by her union to donate to the NEA Fund for Children. In reality, she found out later that the funds went to political action groups chosen by the union—which turned out to be in support of John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008. Waites was furious and recently testified about the situation on the House floor.

As it stands, the law empowers unions over employees when conflict arises. This is the opposite of how America should be, and there are several things being done to combat it.

One of them is the Employee Rights Act (ERA), which would protect private-sector workers from union pressure and extortion. This law wouldn’t specifically protect Waites, because she works for a government union, but it would go a long way for those with the same issues in the private sector.

Simply put, individuals would have a say in what kinds of political causes (if any) they care to endorse monetarily through the union. The ERA would require unions to get permission from workers before spending their dues on politics. James Sherk, Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst in labor economics, explains that the act would actually “shift the balance of power in the workplace from unions to workers.”



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