Rick Berman
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Labor Day was originally set aside to reflect upon contributions the labor movement has made to keep our nation strong and prosperous. This year, however, Americans should focus on how far the labor movement has moved away from its roots.

Unions that once served to protect their employee-members have since transformed into personal piggy banks for the Democratic Party. During the 2010 election alone, 93 percent of the hundreds of millions of invested in politics by unions went to support Democratic candidates, even though 42 percent of union households voted for GOP candidates.

Many Americans were outraged by ex-Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet’s comments calling the White House the “Bank of Washington,” but where is the outrage over the Democratic Party’s “Bank of the American Worker?”

Two bills are currently pending before congress to give employees more control over how their dues money is spent, among other things. The Employee Rights Act (ERA), introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), and the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RASIE) Act, sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN). If Democrats will allow these bills to pass, all employees will soon have reason to celebrate.

Rather than taking money first and allowing questions later, the ERA’s paycheck protection provision requires labor unions to obtain approval from their members prior to spending their dues money on political causes.

The ERA also gives union members the opportunity to exercise a right that is fundamental to American democracy: the right to vote. An analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Labor Relations Board indicates that less than seven percent of currently unionized, private sector employees voted for the union in their workplace.

Just as Americans go to the polls each election cycle to choose who represents them, the ERA would allow union workers – many who never had a say in being unionized in the first place – to decide whether the union their predecessors chose still adequately represents them. American citizens are allowed to hold elected officials responsible by holding elections, and the ERA would allow workers to hold their representatives responsible, too.
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Rick Berman

Rick Berman is the President of Berman and Company, a Washington, D.C.–based public affairs firm specializing in research, communications, and creative advertising.