SB 5551 would promote worker rights, workplace democracy and union accountability

By ERIN SHANNON  | 
LEGISLATIVE MEMO
|
Mar 13, 2017

Download file Download the full legislative memo here

Key Findings:

1. SB 5551 would provide for regularly scheduled recertification elections that would allow public-sector workers to vote regularly on their union representation.

2. Under current law, recertification elections are difficult, time-consuming and complex. Ninety-nine percent of public workers have not voted in a union certification election in over five years.

3. Regular workplace elections would make it easier for workers to decide whether they want a union to represent them. 

4. Elections would encourage unions to be more accountable and responsive to their members.

5. Regular recertification elections would inject competition into the process.  Alternative unions would have the opportunity to seek to represent workers.  Competition would benefit workers. 

6. Greater union accountability is popular with union members; 77 percent believe workers should be able to vote regularly on whether they want their union to continue representing them.

7. SB 5551 reflects a long-standing WPC policy recommendation that every worker should have a choice in whether he wants to be represented by a union, and if so, which one. 

Introduction

This Legislative Memo provides an overview and analysis of SB 5551.  The bill would give public employees who are represented by a union the opportunity to vote regularly on their union’s performance and thus increase union accountability to members. 

SB 5551 would require regularly scheduled recertification elections that would allow public-sector workers to vote on whether they want to continue to be represented by their union.  The periodic elections would enable government workers to confirm their support for their union, reject that union, or choose a different union to represent them.

The bill reflects a long-standing Washington Policy Center policy recommendation that every worker should have a choice about whether he wants to be represented by a union, and if so, which one.