Sending Office: Committee on Education and Labor – Minority Staff
Protect Workers’ Rights to Join a Union and Negotiate a Better Deal
Become a Co-sponsor of the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act
Current co-sponsors: Reps. Brendan Boyle, John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier, Judy Chu, Janice D. Schakowsky, Eleanor Holmes Norton, David N. Cicilline, Ro Khanna, Robert A. Brady, Donald Norcross, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Elijah E. Cummings,
Bonnie Watson Coleman, Susan Davis, Grace F. Napolitano, Jerrold Nadler, Frank Pallone Jr., Linda T. Sanchez, Carol Shea-Porter, Michael F. Doyle, Alan S. Lowenthal, Colleen Hanabusa, Keith Ellison, Al Green, Debbie Dingell, Conor Lamb, Joe Courtney, Ruben
J. Kihuen, Paul Tonko, Gene Green, Brian Higgins, Jose E. Serrano, Jared Polis, Alma S. Adams, Jamie Raskin, Peter A. DeFazio, Darren Soto, Tim Ryan, Peter J. Visclosky, Ben Ray Lujan, Earl Blumenauer, Chellie Pingree, James P. McGovern, Eliot L. Engel, Brenda
L. Lawrence, Sander M. Levin, Brad Sherman, Anthony Brown, Zoe Lofgren, Adam Smith, Carolyn B. Maloney, Tom Suozzi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Barbara Lee, André Carson, John Yarmuth, Albio Sires, Maxine Waters, Marcy Kaptur, Salud Carbajal, Raúl M. Grijalva,
Kathleen M. Rice, Karen Bass, Betty McCollum, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
We write to ask you to become a co-sponsor of the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, a bill to expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.
Unions have been shown to grow the middle class. As recent research demonstrates, union members earn 25.6 percent more than their non-union counterparts. Women union members earn 30 percent more than those in non-union workplaces. Workers who are represented
by a union are 27 percent more likely to be offered health insurance through work, and nearly 5 times as likely to have defined-benefit pensions.
Unfortunately, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not provide basic enforcement tools such as civil penalties sufficient to deter violations, or adequate remedies when workers face unlawful retaliation. Too many employers use unlawful tactics to
deter workers from voting in favor of a union, or create delays to avoid reaching a first labor agreement, as a way to frustrate workers’ rights. The NLRA has virtually no deterrent to these persistent violations. This has contributed to the erosion of union
density, which has decreased from 33.2 percent of the total workforce in 1956 to only 10.7 percent in 2017.
In order to grow the middle class and protect the right to join a union, workers’ protections must be strengthened. To this end, we have introduced the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, which
will guarantee workers’ freedom to negotiate a Better Deal. The bill will do so by:
- Increasing transparency by requiring employers to post a notice in the workplace of workers’ rights and responsibilities under the NLRA.
- Authorizing civil monetary penalties to deter violations of the NLRA.
- Strengthening remedies for workers who are retaliated against for exercising their rights to join a union or engage in protected activities—including swift temporary reinstatement, liquidated damages, and the ability to bring cases directly to federal court.
- Expanding coverage of who is deemed an employee under the NLRA to prevent misclassification of workers.
- Facilitating dispute resolution by requiring mediation and arbitration procedures to help unions and employers conclude a first collective-bargaining agreement.
- Strengthening workers’ right to strike for basic workplace improvements.
- Ensuring that the National Labor Relations Board’s orders are enforced in a timely manner.
- Ensuring that workers, whether in a union or not, have the right to engage in collective actions, such as employment-related class action litigation.
- Using federal purchasing power to protect workers.
Please join us in strengthening the middle class by supporting the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act. For more information, or to co-sponsor the bill, please contact Kyle deCant with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce at email@example.com.
Robert C. “Bobby” Scott Suzanne Bonamici
Ranking Member Vice Ranking Member
Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee on Education and the Workforce
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan Mark Takano
Ranking Member Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
Labor and Pensions
Rosa L. DeLauro Frederica Wilson
Ranking Member Member of Congress
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services, Education, and Related
Committee on Appropriations
Adriano Espaillat Mark Pocan
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0