Press Release

Employee Rights Act Gives Workers a Seat at the Table

New Employee Rights Act (ERA) Introduced by Sen. Scott and Rep. Allen Gives Workers a Seat at the Table

I4AW Praises Legislation that Prioritizes Workers’ Rights and Modernizes Federal Labor Laws in Support of Small Businesses, Independent Workers

HAMILTON (April 19, 2023) – A new version of the Employee Rights Act (ERA) was introduced today by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA), which would strengthen federal labor law to protect workers. The ERA also addresses the growing need for greater flexibility among small business owners and independent workers, while bolstering the overall rights of employees.

The Employee Rights Act would give workers more choice in how they interact with unions and union elections. The bill would guarantee a worker’s right to a secret ballot in union elections. Additionally, the ERA would protect workers by giving them an opportunity to opt-in to fund union political spending instead of taking their consent for granted. It will also give workers the choice of what information is shared with a union.

“The Employee Rights Act is the most pro-worker legislation in Congress,” said president of Institute for the American Worker, F. Vincent Vernuccio. “The ERA empowers workers, giving them control and privacy to decide how they want to work and if they want to be represented by a union.”

Another important aspect of the bill would provide legal clarity for independent workers by harmonizing existing statutes. This will further protect entrepreneurs and their choice to work for themselves.

Finally, franchise owners, specifically, would no longer have the legal threat of shifting “joint employer” standards that could destroy not only their business but the franchise business model as a whole.

Rep. Rick Allen said of the new bill: “The Employee Rights Act fights back against [government] overreach and instead protects workers’ rights and privacy, as well as empowers entrepreneurs and independent contractors. It is long past time that our labor laws stand with the 21st century worker, and I am proud to lead this effort in the House of Representatives.”

I4AW stands with workers and small businesses in support of the following provisions in the Employee Rights Act of 2023:

  • Secret Ballot Elections – Guarantees workers the right to a secret ballot vote in union organizing elections
  • Political Protection – Unions prohibited from using a worker’s dues for political purposes unless the worker gives prior approval
  • Employee Privacy Protections – Employers could select what piece of their personal contact information is shared with a union
  • Provide Legal Clarity to Independent Workers – Makes being an entrepreneur easier by letting independent workers work for themselves. Redefines the FLSA’s definition of “employee” as that determined by the common law test, harmonizing the definition of “employee” across federal statute for independent contractors and small businesses
  • Protects Franchise Businesses – Protects small business owners of franchises by amending the NLRA and FLSA to only consider a business a “joint employer” if it directly, actually, and immediately exercises control over employment decisions
  • Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act – Excludes Native American tribes and tribal enterprises on tribal lands from the NLRA, just as other government bodies are exempt

For more information on the Employee Rights Act, you can reference the I4AW backgrounder here:

To speak with F. Vincent Vernuccio, please email to set up an interview.

Institute for the American Worker is a non-profit 501c3 organization that educates policymakers on complex labor legislation and offers policy solutions that benefit the American worker.