Business

New Legislation to Strengthen Rights of Workers

June 28, 2018, 3:52 PM HST
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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and House DPCC Co-Chair David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and nearly 50 Senate and House Democrats introduced bicameral legislation to guarantee the right for public employees to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic protections.

Senator Hirono discusses the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, surrounded by (left-right) House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and Senator Patty Murray. Courtesy photo.

The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will ensure public sector employees across the country have the legal right to form and join a union and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing over wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Public employers are also required to recognize their employees’ union and to commit to any agreements in a written contract. The bill reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to encourage collective bargaining as a way of promoting stable, cooperative relationships between public employees and their employers.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus is just the latest blow in a decades-long attack on unions and their ability to lift American families into the middle class,” Sen. Hirono said. “Far-right groups like the Koch Brothers will continue this assault because they know that when public-sector employees are able to organize they stand as a powerful force to fight for American workers. We need to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act to protect and strengthen the fundamental the ability of unions to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages and working conditions that are critical to public-sector employees.”

“This isn’t jurisprudence, this is bare-knuckle politics,” Rep. Cartwright said. “I will always fight to maintain collective bargaining rights for hard-working Americans, including my constituents in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where union rights are a time-honored tradition. Strong public and private sector unions built the middle class in our country, and we should not turn back the clock on those struggling families. I urge my Republican colleagues to join us and help pass this legislation that protects middle class American families.”

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