Sending Office: Honorable Mark Pocan
Endorsed by: AFL-CIO • SEIU • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) • International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) •
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) • National Education Association (NEA) • American Federation of Teachers (AFT) • National Nurses United, Communications Workers of America (CWA) • International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Good
Jobs Nation, National Employment Law Project (NELP) • Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) • United Steelworkers (USW) • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) • International Union, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America (UAW) • Alliance for Retired Americans • Restaurant Opportunities Center United • National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) • American Postal Workers Union (APWU) • Transport Workers Union (TWU) • International
Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees • EPI Policy Center
Current House Cosponsors: Reps. Boyle, Katherine Clark, DeLauro, DeSaulnier, Ellison, Espaillat, Grijlava, Holmes Norton, Jackson Lee, Kaptur, Khanna, Lee, Norcross, Raskin, Roybal-Allard, Tim Ryan, Schakowsky, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Takano,
Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman;
Senate lead: Senator Bernie Sanders
Senate Cosponsors: Sens. Gillibrand, Brown, Warren, Baldwin, Whitehouse, Harris, Merkley, Markey, Booker, Wyden, Leahy;
In order to strengthen America’s middle class, we absolutely must restore workers’ rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
There is no doubt that union membership is good for workers. According to data released in early 2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than for nonunion workers. 79 percent of unionized workers receive health
insurance from their employers, compared to only 49 percent of nonunion workers. 76 percent of union workers have guaranteed defined-benefit pension plans, compared to only 16 percent of nonunion workers, and 83 percent of union workers receive paid with
sick leave compared to only 62 percent of nonunion workers.
Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high, while wages as a percentage of the economy are near an all-time low. The middle class is disappearing, nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else
is growing wider and wider.
There are many reasons for the growing inequality in our economy, but perhaps the most significant reason for the disappearing middle class is that the rights of workers to join together and bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions have
been severely undermined. According to the most recent statistics:
- If an employee is engaged in a union organizing campaign, that employee has a one in five chance of getting fired.
- Half of all employers threaten to close or relocate their businesses if workers elect to form a union.
- When workers become interested in forming unions, 92 percent of private-sector employers force employees to attend closed-door meetings to hear anti-union propaganda; 80 percent require supervisors to attend training sessions on attacking unions; 78 percent
require that supervisors deliver anti-union messages to workers they oversee; and 75 percent hire outside consultants to run anti-union campaigns.
- Even when workers overcome these enormous obstacles and win union elections, 52 percent of these new unions still do not have a first contract for workers a year after the election, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
In order to ensure workers have a voice in the workplace and, as a result, see their wages raised, we are introducing the Workplace Democracy Act. The Workplace Democracy Act would:
- Make it easier for workers to form unions through a majority sign up process. This section would allow the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union if a majority of eligible workers join sign valid authorization cards and
the NLRB verifies that majority. Workers will get to elect which process to use to form unions, rather than allowing employers to dictate the course of action.
- Ensure companies can’t prevent a union from forming by denying a first contract.
This section would require an employer to begin negotiating within 10 days of receiving a request from a new union. If no agreement is reached after 90 days of negotiation, the parties can request to enter a compulsory mediation process. If no first
contract is reached after 30 more days of mediation, the parties would have a contract settlement through binding arbitration.
- Refine the definition of joint Employer for the purposes of collective bargaining.
Specifically, this section would maintain company’s bargaining responsibility regardless of whether or not they choose to contract out segments of their labor force.
- Strengthen the rules that govern the lead-up to union elections by expanding and updating the Persuader Rule.
- Expand the definition of employee to ensure employers can no longer avoid responsibility and prevent workers from organizing by designating certain workers independent contractors, supervisors, or through franchisee arrangements.
We ask you to join us as an original cosponsor of this important legislation to ensure workers’ voices are heard in the workplace. To become an original cosponsor, or should have any questions, please contact Syd Terry from my office (Sydney.Terry@mail.house.gov)
Mark Pocan Rosa L. DeLauro Donald Norcross
MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0