Municipal Government

Support for the WAGE Act Continues to Grow

October 13, 2015
By Kenneth Quinnell Reprinted: http://www.aflcio.org

(l) Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott

Recently, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced the WAGE Act, an attempt to solidify and strengthen protections for working people. Since the legislation was introduced, more and more voices have been joining the chorus calling for Congress to approve the act. Here is some recent media coverage about the WAGE Act:

Sen. Murray Seeks More Protections for Workers: Introduces WAGE Act (Seattle Gay News): The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935—sometimes known as the Wagner Act—to "increase protections for all workers, union or not," and it will "help open up the pathways to equal pay, increased safety and higher wages," Murray said in a statement. "Unfortunately, when workers want to improve working conditions, some companies do everything they can to prevent workers from having a voice in the workplace," the senator said at the press event announcing the bill. "And our labor law lacks the remedies that would discourage these unlawful tactics. That's why the WAGE Act is so important. It would strengthen protections for all workers—whether they are union members or not. And it would provide the same tools found in other employment and civil rights laws." 

Why Congress Should Pass the WAGE Act (CNBC): Much has been said in recent years about the decline in unionization and the underlying reasons. True, there are many causes for this decline, but an obvious one is an antiquated, weak labor law. 

Pass the WAGE Act for Workers’ Rights (The Hill): Josh Coleman was an all-star employee at T-Mobile. But when he became involved with TU—the union of T-Mobile workers—his company started treating him differently. A corporate vice president showed up at Coleman’s workplace while he was wearing a union T-shirt and took away his prize trip for being a top performer. Coleman was then fired without cause. T-Mobile eventually settled with Coleman, but their message to other workers was clear—take collective action at your own risk.

Democrats Want to Make Labor Organizing Akin to a Civil Right (The Huffington Post): If you get fired for trying to organize a union in the United States, federal labor law does a pretty weak job of protecting you….Labor unions have sought for years to strengthen those protections, and on Wednesday, Democrats in Washington took up the latest version of the cause. Lawmakers proposed a bill, crafted with the input of the AFL-CIO union federation that would make workplace organizing akin to a civil right.

Labor Law Has Been Frozen for 60 Years. Democrats Are Trying to Crack It Open (The Washington Post): A new attempt by Democrats to boost workers' bargaining power has a lot of failure behind it. The American workplace has changed a whole lot over the past half century. But the major law that governs how workers and employees interact—the National Labor Relations Act—has been essentially frozen since 1947, when the law was reformed to constrain worker power.

New Legislation Seeks to Protect Union Organizers (The Hill): AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who is helping to lead the push for the measure, said that labor rules “for too long have been rigged against working people” and called the measure “a critical first step in addressing both a changing economy and labor laws that have failed to keep up with a changing workplace.”

Dems Introduce Bill to Triple Back Pay for Illegally Fired Workers (Washington Examiner): "This law would crack down on employers who break the law when workers exercise their basic right to collective action," Murray said at an event Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Murray and Scott were joined at the event by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The bill was dubbed the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act.

October 13, 2015

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