Earlier this week, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders introduced the Workplace Democracy Act in the Congress. This legislation aims to strengthen the middle-class workers by restoring their rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The bill, which is supported by U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, is also cosponsored by Democrat senators, Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kamala Harris, Edward Markey, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren, and Sheldon Whitehouse.
According to a joint press release issued by the senators, the pro-workers bill will help union workers get better health coverage and have an employer-sponsored pension plan or 401(k). It also prevents workers from being victims of health and safety violations or of wage theft.
Senator Sanders said that the American people must no longer tolerate CEOs and managers who intimidate, threaten or fire pro-union workers.
“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,” he said.
According to the senators, the Workplace Democracy Act would stop employers from exploiting workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors or denying them overtime by falsely categorizing them as a “supervisor.”
Senator Gillibrand pointed out that for long corporations have ” attacked and undermined” the workers’ rights to collective bargaining.
“They enormous power over their workers and can keep wages so low that even full-time employees are still living in poverty,” she said.
Criticizing President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on unions, Congressman Pocan said that Republicans like Trump and Governor Walker are trying to push a special interest, corporate-driven agenda that makes it harder for middle-class families to get ahead.
“While they stack the deck against the American worker, unions are fighting to expand economic opportunity and strengthen the middle class,” he said.
According to a report by Pew Research, while 60 percent of Americans have a favorable view of labor unions, the most recent data available on union membership shows that, as of 2017, only 10.7 percent of wage and salary workers were union members.