High staff turnover would lead to re-vote on union membership under proposed labor reform law

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Nursing home workers would have to recertify their union representation after any major changes in staffing, if a newly proposed bill becomes law.

The Employee Rights Act was introduced in both houses of Congress on Thursday. Its supporters described it as a measure to counteract strong-arm tactics from labor unions intent on maintaining their rolls.

“The single biggest problem facing the American worker today is a persistently high unemployment rate, and yet union leaders insist on further weakening workers' opportunities,” stated Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). “This bill empowers employees by giving them a say in whether or not they want to join and pay dues to a union, ensuring the privacy of that decision and allowing employees to opt out of having all of their personal contact information and work schedule shared with union organizers.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) joined Alexander in introducing the bill in the Senate. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the House version.

Healthcare, and long-term care in particular, sees some of the highest rates of turnover out of any industry, so provisions pegged to staffing changes are likely to be of particular interest to operators.

Among other provisions meant to make it easier for workers to opt out of a union, the bill calls for recertification of unionization if staffing levels change due to “turnover, expansion or alteration by merger.” If any of these events changes the composition of more than 50% of a bargaining unit, a secret ballot election would take place to determine whether the unit still desires union representation.

Click here to access the text of the legislation.