U.S. Senators Unveil Pro-Labor Reforms to Strengthen Unions and Workers’ Rights

By Sahid Fawaz

Senate Democrats are looking to give workers a (long overdue) stronger voice in the workplace.

The Washington Post reports:

“Senate Democrats are rolling out another plank in their ‘Better Deal’ platform today, a series of pro-labor reforms aimed at ‘strengthening the collective voice and negotiating rights of workers.’

Like the rest of the Democrats’ policy proposals, the eight-part labor plank has no serious chance of passage in a Republican-controlled Congress. Like previous planks on the economy and banking, it reflects talks among Democrats, their staff and outside analysts who want to see a more progressive party.

‘Democrats are redoubling our commitment to working men and women with these proposals,’ Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement. ‘We’re offering the middle class and those struggling to get there a better deal by taking on companies that undermine unions and underpay their workers, and beginning to unwind a rigged system that undermines every worker’s freedom to negotiate with their employer.’

The labor plank of the Better Deal is ambitious, anticipating court and National Labor Relations Board decisions that could go against unions in the next four years. Among them:

  • A ‘federal law that provides public workers with the same rights and freedom to engage in collective bargaining as their private sector counterparts,’ designed to prevent the piecemeal right-to-work efforts that have taken off in Republican-run states since 2011.
  • A ban on state ‘right-to-work’ laws altogether, as ‘they have been found to reduce union membership by up to 10 percent and have resulted in lower wages and decreased access to employer-provided health care and pensions.’
  • Making it easier to strike with a ‘ban [on] the permanent replacement of striking workers.’
  • Limiting employers’ ability to campaign against union drives. ‘When companies taint the election process by using captive audience meetings, the NLRB will set the corrupted election results aside and require the employer to bargain with the worker representative,’ Democrats write in the Better Deal white paper.”

For the rest of the article, check out the Washington Post piece here.

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