The Workplace Democracy Act
May 9, 2018 -The Teamsters are endorsing legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today that would enhance the ability of workers to organize and fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions on the job.
The Workplace Democracy Act would ensure more hardworking Americans become part of the middle class by making it easier for workers to join a union. It would repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act, and so-called "right-to-work" (RTW) laws in states across the U.S., the measure would halt intimidation tactics instituted by many companies that are trying to stifle unionization on their job sites.
Jose Ramirez, a former XPO Logistics driver from Aurora, Ill. who was fired for his union activity, said during a Capitol Hill press conference today that the bill would prevent businesses from bullying worker who are trying to organize. "Companies like XPO use fear and coercion to scare their workers from forming their own union," he said. "This bill would protect workers' federal right to organize and ensure that what happened to me couldn't happen to them."
Beyond ending RTW, the bill would 1) allow unions to organize through a majority sign-up process; 2) enact first contract provisions to ensure companies cannot prevent a union from forming by denying a first contract; 3) expand the definition of employer to limit workers being classified as independent contractors; 4) allow for secondary boycotts and picketing; and 5) expand and update the "persuader rule" to limit the use of outside union busters.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said the legislation would stem rising inequality in this country. "Union workers on average make $11,000 more a year than non-union workers," he said. "They also have better health and retirement benefits and are safer on the job. If lawmakers want to expand the middle class, this bill is the vehicle to get it done."
“….Unions are fighting to expand economic opportunity and strengthen the middle class,” said Pocan, a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades “The Workplace Democracy Act restores real bargaining rights to workers and repeals the right to work laws like those that Governor Walker has used to undercut American workers. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Sanders and stand up for the millions of middle class families who are under attack by Republican leaders.”
“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,” Sanders said. “If we are serious about reducing income and wealth inequality and rebuilding the middle class, we have got to substantially increase the number of union jobs in this country.”
“The biggest economic challenge of our time is that people are in jobs that do not pay them enough to live on. While corporate profits soar, working people are getting smaller and smaller shares of the wealth they create. Corporate interests are highly organized and fight like hell to make sure their interests are protected—in the economy and in our political system,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. “The Workplace Democracy Act aims squarely at that issue by simplifying the process for workers to form a union. We know that when workers are able to collectively bargain, they achieve increased wages and more substantial benefits—like healthcare coverage and retirement security. That is why Congress needs to act immediately on this legislation to make it as easy as possible for people to organize into unions and fight for a fairer economy.”
“Workers win when they band together and use their voices to raise wages and standards in the workplace,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and electrician by trade. “I know how important it is for working families to work together because I lived it. I fought for them at the negotiating table for decades. Now we must fight back against attacks on democracy in the workplace. We need to come together and pass this act to help restore workers’ rights.”
Click Here To Read the Summary of the Act
Click Here To Read the Bill
The bill is cosponsored in the House by Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).