Defend Labor Unions and Worker Rights by Supporting Workplace Democracy Act (HR.5728) and the Workers' Freedom to Negotiate Act (HR.6080)
Note: only one of these two Congresswomen represents you. To find out which one, click here.
My name is __________. I am a constituent, and my zip code is _______. I am a member of Indivisible SF.
As my representative, I urge the Congresswoman to take a stand to protect labor unions by publicly supporting and co-sponsoring two bills:
1. HR.5728 the Workplace Democracy Act which will restore real bargaining rights for American workers and repeal some of the laws that unfairly cripple labor.
2. HR.6080 the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act which will deter egregious violations of labor rights and restore some fairness to an economy that is rigged against employees.
I know that so long as Republicans control the House there is no chance that either of these bills will be enacted. But as my representative I want you to take a stand for economic justice and fairness regardless of the odds. For too long, Republicans have attacked and demonized labor. As the midterm election campaigns heat up, now is the time for Democrats to fight back in defense of unions and worker rights.
For decades, labor unions have been systematically weakened through legislation, judicial rulings, and administrative decisions. The ability of employees to form unions and collectively bargain has been deeply eroded. The power of unions to sustain living wages and ensure safe working environments has been crippled. The number of union members has gone into steep decline. There is a direct correlation between the decline of union strength, a shrinking middle class, and growing income inequality.
“Republicans like President Trump and Governor Walker continue to crack down on unions and push a special interest, corporate-driven agenda that makes it harder for middle class families to get ahead. And while they stack the deck against the American worker, unions are fighting to expand economic opportunity and strengthen the middle class” – Mark Pocan (D-WI)
“We must no longer tolerate CEOs and managers who intimidate, threaten or fire pro-union workers, who threaten to move plants to China if their workers vote in favor of a union, and who refuse to negotiate a first contract with workers who have voted to join unions.” – Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Since the 1970s, worker productivity has soared and so has the wealth of the top .1% but the income of average workers has stalled out. So despite producing more wealth than ever before, American workers are taking home a smaller share of the proceeds because billionaires and corporate CEOs have rigged the economy to disempower labor and redistribute wealth to themselves.
The Workplace Democracy Act:
Makes it easier for workers to form a union and gain legal recognition of its legitimacy
Requires mandatory arbitration if an employer refuses to bargain with a legitimate union.
Strengthens the enforcement powers of the National Labor Relations Board and provides economic restitution for workers illegally fired for legitimate union activities.
Repeals laws prohibiting unions supporting boycotts and strikes
Repeals state-level anti-union “right to work” laws
Guarantees union rights for government workers
Provides for workers to serve as trustees on pension plans which cover their retirement.
Gives workers in countries that are party to a free trade treaty with the U.S. the right to file unfair labor practice complaints against the American-owned parent company of their employer.
For more information:
Text of Workplace Democracy Act
Summary of The Workplace Democracy Act (United Electric Workers union)
A Line in the Sand (Jacobin magazine)
The Workplace Democracy Act restores workers’ bargaining power (EPI)
Pocan and Sanders Lead Democrats in Introducing Workplace Democracy Act (press release)
Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act Background
The rules governing work in this country are rigged against working people from their first day on the job. The current legal and political framework favors corporate interests who are dedicated to rolling back worker protections and advancing business practices that leave fewer and fewer workers covered by existing laws. Those workers who do remain covered by protections are often required to sign away their labor and employment rights as a condition of employment. And, where workers do retain protections on the job, the agencies responsible for enforcement lack the resources necessary to ensure that employers are playing by the rules.
From 1980 to 2014, wages for the bottom half of all income earners grew by just 1%, while wages for the top one percent of earners such as corporate executives grew by 205%. Union members earn 25% more than those who are not represented by a union and to a significant degree the existence unions has also served to raise the incomes of non-union workers. But as legal protections for labor rights have been eroded, union membership has dropped from 33% of the workforce in 1956 to just 10% in 2017 resulting in economic dis-empowerment and lower incomes for all but the very top wage earners.
The Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act:
Removes prohibitions on workers acting in solidarity with workers at other companies, protects workers who engage in peaceful protest actions with their fellow workers and safeguards the right to strike
Prevents empoloyers from forcing employees to waive their right to engage in collective or class-action litigation.
Allows employers and unions to enter into a contract that allows unions to collect fair-share fees that cover the costs of collective bargaining and administering the agreement from workers who choose not to join the union and pay dues.
Prevents employers from misclassifying their employees as “supervisors” or “independent contractors,” and prevents workers from being denied remedies due to their immigration status.
Requires federal contractors to disclose violations of labor laws over the previous three years and mandates that federal agencies must consider the contractor’s record of compliance in awarding contracts valued of more than $500,000.
For more information:
Text of the Freedom to Negotiate Act
Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act fact sheet
In Support of the Workers' Freedom to Negotiate Act (AFL-CIO)
First Day Fairness (EPI)