Texas AG supports law to strengthen right-to-work

By Bryan Cohen | Feb 20, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined Senator Kel Seliger and Representative Charles "Doc" Anderson on Wednesday in expressing support for legislation to strengthen the state's right-to-work laws.

Under Texas Labor Code, workers are not fully protected during union elections. The statute does not currently guarantee workers a right to cast their unionization vote by secret ballot, often employing a system where workers sign a non-confidential form or card to reveal which individuals support a unionization vote.

"The state of Texas weathered the national economic downturn and became the nation's job creator thanks to a reasonable regulatory environment that fostered job growth, economic opportunity and individual freedom - including the right to choose whether to join a labor union," Abbott said.

The legislation proposed by Sen. Seliger and Rep. Anderson seeks to protect workers by guaranteeing the right to cast unionization votes by secret ballot. The bill would also allow for affected workers to be subject to an exclusive collective bargaining agreement if they vote in the majority for unionization.

"Legislation proposed by Sen. Seliger and Rep. Anderson seeks to strengthen our state's right-to-work protections by ensuring that workers are guaranteed a secret ballot in union elections," Abbott said. "By enhancing our existing protections for Texas workers and developing a Workers Bill of Rights, the initiatives announced today can help ensure that the state of Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation and economic prosperity."

The Texas Workers Bill of Rights is a formal legal notice that outlines the protections employees are guaranteed under state law. Abbott announced the new initiative on Wednesday.

Abbott encouraged Texas businesses to post the legal notice on their premises.

In 2011, Abbott co-authored a legal brief and filed on behalf of a 16-state coalition to oppose an attempt by federal labor regulators at the National Labor Relations Board to punish Boeing Co. for expanding its operations in South Carolina. South Carolina, like Texas, is a right-to-work state. The brief argued that the enforcement action was an improper attempt to favor unionized states over right-to-work states.

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