Hirono, Senate & House Democrats Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Workers Rights

June 30, 2018, 7:08 AM HST · Updated June 30, 9:35 AM
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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Representative 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.

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,” Senator 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.”

The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union.

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“This bill is a legitimate antidote to an illegitimate Supreme Court decision that was bought and paid for by billionaires and driven solely by animus against labor unions,” Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO said. “It would strengthen collective bargaining, putting the law on our side and additional wind at our back. If the folks in the majority up here on Capitol Hill are serious about empowering working people, they will bring this bill to the floor as quickly as they can.”

The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act is included in Democrats’ “A Better Deal,” an economic agenda to help build an America in which working people know that somebody has their back.

The legislation reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to encourage the practice of collective bargaining as a means of promoting stable, cooperative relationships between public employees and their employers. The bill provides public employees the right to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic rights.  Authority is granted to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to determine whether a state, territory, or locality provides public employees with basic labor rights.

Click here to download the full text of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. Click here to download a fact sheet on the bill.

 

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