As Inequality Reaches Highest Levels Since The Great Depression, Senate & House Democrats Introduce New Legislation To Provide A Better Deal For American Workers
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), introduced legislation as part of their economic agenda, “A Better Deal.” As the income inequality gap reaches the highest levels since the Great Depression, many middle class families are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve basic economic security. To help address rising inequality and related challenges in obtaining a quality education, safe housing, sustainable work, and a secure retirement, the Democrats’ legislation would strengthen workers’ freedom to join unions and negotiate collectively to win better pay and conditions, stiffen penalties on corporations, protect workers’ right to strike, streamline procedures to secure worker freedoms, and protect the integrity of union elections. The Better Deal legislation comes as the Trump administration and congressional Republicans continue their efforts to maximize corporate profits through their tax giveaway to the richest few and largest corporations and the rollback of crucial labor rights designed to protect the American worker.
Giving workers the freedom to negotiate A Better Deal 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 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.”
“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 Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act is a comprehensive response to decades of attacks on workers’ rights,” said House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member, Bobby Scott. “Workers must be empowered to negotiate for fair wages and decent benefits, so they can provide for their families, access affordable health care, and retire with dignity. This legislation takes necessary steps to improve the quality of life for workers and their families, and recognizes that empowering workers’ right to negotiate is critical to unrigging the economy.”
“After decades of corporate special interest attacks on workers and unions, too many families today are struggling to make ends meet and feel financially secure,” said Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member, Senator Patty Murray. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that will strengthen workers’ bargaining power and their right to join a union to advocate for safer working conditions, better pay, and a secure retirement—and I urge my Republican colleagues to join us in working to build an economy that works for all—not just those at the top.”
“Our economy is rigged against working people. The Republicans who control Congress are bought and paid for by corporate special interests,” said House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee Co-Chair Congressman David Cicilline. “Democrats have A Better Deal that puts working people first so everyone has a chance at the American Dream, not just the wealthy.”
Co-sponsors of the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act in the Senate are: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Co-sponsors of the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act in the House are: Reps. Bonamici (OR-1), Boyle (PA-13), Brady (PA-1), Cicilline (RI-1), Chu (CA-27), Cummings (MD-7), Davis (IL-7), DeLauro (CT-3), DeSaulnier (CA-11), Doyle (PA-14), Ellison (MN-5), Espaillat (NY-13), Garamendi (CA-3), Hanabusa (HI-1), Khanna (CA-17), Lowenthal (CA-47), Nadler (NY-10), Napolitano (CA-32), Norcross (NJ-1), Norton (DC), Pallone (NJ-6), Pocan (WI-6), Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Sablan (Mariana Islands), Sanchez (CA-38), Schakowsky (IL-9), Shea-Porter (NH-1), Takano (CA-41), Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Wilson (FL-24).