Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congressional Democratic leadership introduces “A Better Deal”

Today, House and Senate Democratic leadership introduced the ‘‘Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act of 2018’’ or “A Better Deal for America’s Workers.” Joining together, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced the legislation as part of the Democratic economic agenda.

The to-be numbered measure seeks to address America’s income inequality problem and the difficulties in obtaining quality education, safe housing, sustainable work, and a secure retirement by strengthening workers’ rights and freedoms under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law that protects workers’ right to stand together and negotiate with their employers.

According to the Democrats’ press release, the measure would:

  • Strengthen penalties on predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights, and combat misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors.
  • Strengthen workers’ right to strike for basic workplace improvements, including higher wages and better working conditions.
  • Create a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure corporations and newly formed unions reach a first contract.
  • Ban state laws that undermine worker freedoms to join together and negotiate.  
  • Streamline the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) procedures to secure worker freedoms and effectively prevent violations.
  • Protect the integrity of union elections against coercive captive audience meetings.  
  • Use federal purchasing power and policy to help expand opportunities to negotiate.

“The hard-working men and women of labor are the backbone of our economy and the foundation of our strength,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Generations of American workers paved the way to higher wages, better health care, safer working conditions and stronger retirement security for everyone.  Yet, Republicans are doubling down on their anti-worker, special interest agenda by rolling back decades of progress and shamelessly undermining workers’ fundamental rights.  I am proud to join my fellow Democrats to tilt the playing field back to the side of the American people and offer A Better Deal that protects the right to stand together in union and strengthens protections for American workers.”

“The Golden Era in America was defined by the existence of unions; families had opportunities, people bought homes, had cars, went on vacations. Since then, unions have been under relentless attack by big corporate special interests backed by Congressional Republicans,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “If Mr. Trump truly wants to make America great again, he needs to start by protecting the American worker and disassembling the rigged system that undermines workers’ freedoms instead of empowering special interests and big corporations.”

To read more about “A Better Deal for America’s Workers,” follow this link to the Senate Democratic webpage on the measure.

NALC supports all efforts to protect and strengthen workers’ rights. NALC will monitor the progression of this legislation, similar legislation, and any efforts to insert such language into must-pass bills.

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