Committee Democrats Fight to Protect Workers’ Rights to Join a Union
“Safeguarding the right to join a union and negotiate for better wages and conditions is critical to reversing income inequality, growing the middle class, and making sure workers receive their fair share of the wealth that they create.”
WASHINGTON – Today, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing entitled, “Worker-Management Relations: Examining the Need to Modernize Federal Labor Law.” Unfortunately for workers, the Majority called today’s hearing to propose crippling people’s rights to join together and advocate for better wages and working conditions. This is the 37th hearing the Majority has held aimed at undermining workers’ rights under National Labor Relation Act.
“The National Labor Relations Act protects the right of workers to form unions in order to rectify the inequality of bargaining power between employees and employers,” said Ranking Member Sablan (MP-AL), Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee. “Safeguarding the right to join a union and negotiate for better wages and conditions is critical to reversing income inequality, growing the middle class, and making sure workers receive their fair share of the wealth that they create.”
Over the past four decades, wages for working people have stagnated. When union membership hovered around 30 percent between the end of World War II and 1973, wages grew over 90 percent. However, as union membership fell to close to ten percent in 2017, wages only grew by less than 13 percent, adjusting for inflation.
Today, the Majority argued that Congress should limit low-wage workers’ ability to advocate for better wages and conditions by regulating worker centers as “labor organizations” and imposing strictures that limit their First Amendment rights.
“Attacks on Worker Centers are erroneous and misplaced. Worker Centers are not labor organizations under either the NLRA or Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA),” said Anne Lofaso, Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law. “Moreover, their growth is a symptom of diminished and imbalanced bargaining power possessed by workers. A diminished middle class is both a symptom and cause of greater economic inequality.”
Committee Democrats support modernizing labor law through the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act (H.R. 4548), a bill which would safeguard the right to organize a union. The WAGE Act authorizes civil penalties to deter employers from committing unfair labor practices, such as firing employees for organizing a union, and ensures that employers and worker can conclude a first contract after a union has been formed.
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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