Sending Office: Honorable Rosa L. DeLauro
Rebuilding Worker Voice in Today’s Economy
At a time when wages are stagnating and workers are earning a declining share of profit, it’s more important than ever to update and strengthen labor law to build power for workers and meet the demands of our 21st economy.
That’s why I am writing to share this important new work from the Roosevelt Institute that outlines the problems with existing labor law and offers new ways to rebalance power in our economy. Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Temple University Associate Professor
of Law Brishen Rogers and University of Michigan Professor of Law Kate Andrias make the case in
Rebuilding Worker Voice in Today’s Economy for substantial new reforms to
guarantee all workers a voice in their workplaces, in the broader economy, and in our democracy. To achieve this goal, they lay out four key principles that any labor law reform much achieve:
- Provide rights to all workers, in all sectors of the economy.
Current labor law fails to protect far too many workers, including whole sectors of the economy, such as domestic and agricultural work, as well as workers classified as independent contractors and low-level supervisors. Extending the basic protections of labor
law to all workers is essential to building a fair economy.
- Protect and promote unionization at workplaces U.S. labor law makes it far too difficult for workers to organize unions in their own workplaces and firms, leaving the vast majority of working people with no collective voice. To provide
workers a real voice at work, labor law must strengthen and protect workers’ fundamental rights to organize and join unions.
- Encourage sectoral bargaining U.S. labor law encourages collective bargaining at the level of the individual worksite, while many other industrialized nations give unions power to bargain with all companies in an industrial sector at once.
This “sectoral bargaining” is far more effective than worksite bargaining at raising wages and reducing inequality, particularly when workers are spread out among many small workplaces. Labor law should require sectoral bargaining in addition to strengthening
worksite organization and representation
- Protect workers’ fundamental rights to strike, picket, and engage in other collective action
Labor law today does not effectively protect workers’ fundamental rights to picket, strike, or engage in other crucial forms of workplace expression and protest, often leaving worker organizations with fewer rights of expression than other civil society
groups. U.S. labor law must be reformed to fulfill its promise to protect collective action.
Rebalancing our economy will require a rewrite of our broken labor laws to meet the demands of our out-of-balance economy. I urge you to read and share
Rebuilding Worker Voice in Today’s Economy as we continue to develop and champion legislation that will build power and raise wages for American workers.
ROSA L. DeLAURO
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0