Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Jim Banks recently proposed offering workers a voluntary, non-union way to organize at work. The Rubio-Banks proposal, introduced this month as the TEAM Act of 2022 with twelve Republican cosponsors, would amend American law to allow the formation of non-union, non-adversarial worker-management committees—called “employee involvement organizations” or EIOs. EIOs would not collectively bargain like unions do but would instead facilitate voluntary cooperation on critical issues like working conditions, benefits, and productivity. In larger companies, an EIO’s members would be able to elect a nonvoting representative to the board of directors. Under current law, such arrangements are illegal.
Rubio and Banks argue that many Americans don’t want to join a union, but do want a collective voice at work and should have a legal path to getting it.
Their argument prompted loud criticism from several prominent voices on the political left, who dismissed the proposal as a bad-faith effort to undercut American workers. This is odd, given that new options for voice and representation are exactly what workers say they want.