Democrats Introduce Bill to Empower Workers and Save Labor Unions

By Sahid Fawaz

The progressives of the Democratic Party are taking the lead in strengthening unions.

The Washington Post reports:

“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced a plan Wednesday that he says will lift the nation’s lagging wages by restoring power to unions and protecting workers in the gig economy — both top items on the labor movement’s wish list.

The Workplace Democracy Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 10 other Democrats, would make it easier for workers to organize, supporters say.

The bill would allow employees to form a union by a majority sign-up process, rather than an election (which proponents say heightens the risk of employer meddling); require companies to negotiate with a new union within 10 days of receiving a request; mandate that workers in every state pay some dues to unions that represent them; and expand the law’s definition of ’employer,’ a hotly debated term as the country’s contractor workforce expands.

The catch, of course, is that President Trump and the Republican-led Congress aren’t likely to entertain these traditionally liberal goals — and they have virtually no chance of soon becoming law.

But Sanders said he hoped his push would shift the conversation about jobs from the dropping unemployment rate to stagnant wages.

The jobless rate hit an 18-year low of 3.9 percent in April, according to the most recent government data, while pay growth stayed flat.

‘It’s not a question of just jobs — it’s a question of what those jobs pay,’ Sanders told The Washington Post. ‘Many of the occupations that are growing in this country do not pay workers a living wage.’

The nation’s largest labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association, have endorsed the measure.”

For the rest of the story, visit The Washington Post here.

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