Proposals Include Bill of Rights, Secret Ballot
Texas is already a "right-to-work" state, but some state leaders are taking new steps to strengthen that status. Attorney General Greg Abbott has released a new Texas Workers Bill of Rights, which he says is aimed at clarifying our state's labor laws. "We want all Texas workers to know their rights, and we want to protect worker rights from abusive labor practices," says Abbott. His office is encouraging businesses to post the Bill of Rights in response to a 2009 executive order by President Obama that mandates employers post info about the right to join a union. "This (Bill of Rights) makes clear the rights that workers have in Texas, including the right NOT to join a labor union," Abbott explains.
Abbott also announced he's backing proposed state legislation that would require a secret ballot for any employee vote on organizing or joining a union. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Waco). "Whether to join a union or create a union in Texas is an independent choice that workers have," says Abbott. "And when workers make that choice, they should be free of coercion or intimidation." Under current Texas law, it is illegal to require a worker to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment, but union organizers can still collect signature cards that reveal which individuals support a unionization vote. Abbott says this bill would end that practice. "Workers in Texas should not feel that their job is jeopardized by the way they vote in a union election."
Abbott, Seliger, and Anderson all claim that strengthening right-to-work laws will keep Texas competitive in attracting high-quality businesses and workers and further boost the state's economy. Abbott points out that the Workers Bill of Rights does not impose any new regulatory requirements on businesses and can voluntarily be posted by employers alongside the required federal worker notices. Texans can report possible violations of the state's right-to-work laws by lodging a complaint at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or by calling (800) 252-8011.
Check out the full announcement from Attorney General Abbott, State Sen. Seliger, and State Rep. Anderson here.