At IWF, we often educate the public on the harms of a federal bill bearing the acronym, ERA. This is the Equal Rights Amendment, which as my colleague Inez Stepman noted, would “erase biological women from our civil rights laws and jeopardize women’s safety, privacy, and opportunities.” The fight against that ERA marches on. 

However, yesterday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) introduced a different ERA bill that we should celebrate: the Employee Rights Act.

This ERA would stop the onslaught of Biden regulatory attacks against freelancers, small businesses, and big employers driven by pro-union forces in Washington. 

The ERA also provides a counter to the pro-union legislative agenda of the left, namely the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

We have written much about the PRO Act. It would reclassify as employees millions of the nation’s independent contractors despite their desire to remain independent. Companies would not afford the increased costs to hire these workers. As a result, freelancers would lose flexible opportunities, incomes, and livelihoods as happened when California passed similar restrictions through its disastrous Assembly Bill 5 (AB5).

The PRO Act is also a union-boosting bill that pads Big Labor’s coffers by forcing non-union workers to pay union dues, which is spent on candidates and causes they may oppose. It also forces employers to hand over the personal contact information of non-union workers to labor bosses potentially exposing them to harassment. 

Instead, Senator Scott’s ERA would provide privacy protections, freelancer and small-business protections, non-union worker protections, and more. The ERA would:

  • Protect right-to-work laws from being repealed in over two dozen states
  • Provide clear definitions and legal clarity of which workers are independent contractors and harmonizes the definition of “employee” used by the Internal Revenue Service with the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Guarantee a right to a secret ballot vote in union elections rather than the “card check” intimidation practice that forces workers to sign a union card in their workplace, home, or community
  • Limit the use of union dues to just collective bargaining and contract negotiations so that employees aren’t automatically also funding elections and candidates without their express approval 
  • Allow employees to select which piece of contact information is shared with labor bosses

This is a pro-woman and pro-worker bill that respects freedom, flexibility, and choices in the workplace.

As Senator Scott wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

As Americans grapple with soaring inflation and life after lockdowns, they want more job flexibility and protection of their rights in the workplace.

Some politicians are backing labor policies that benefit government regulators, union bosses and other special-interest groups. It’s time to put workers back in the driver’s seat.

Our economy is innovating all kinds of dynamic opportunities for women to create the personal and work lives that they want.

Increasingly, lawmakers recognize that and are advancing policies to prioritize individuals over unions and opportunity over political power.