Chairman Crowley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Empower Workers and Expand Collective Bargaining Rights

Chairman Crowley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Empower Workers and Expand Collective Bargaining Rights

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and 21 Members of Congress to support legislation that would empower workers across the nation to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The Workplace Democracy Act, would simplify the process for workers to form unions, prevent employers from denying their employees the right to collectively bargain, and end the exploitation of workers who are misclassified as independent contractors. The legislation would be the most comprehensive overhaul of federal labor protections in half a century.

“Corporate profits are at an all-time high, and yet the American middle class has been excluded from years of economic growth due to stagnant wages and a lack of workplace protections,” said Chairman Crowley. “It’s no coincidence that economic inequality has risen at a time when collective bargaining rights have been trampled upon throughout the country. We must guarantee bargaining rights to American workers so they can fight for better wages and benefits and a fairer economy.”

Union membership has proven to improve working conditions for employees and lead to higher wages and benefits. According to data released in early 2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than for non-union workers; 79 percent of unionized workers receive health insurance from their employers, compared to only 49 percent of non-union workers; and 83 percent of union workers receive paid sick leave compared to only 62 percent of non-union workers.

Across America, Republican officeholders and corporate special interests have conspired to undermine collective bargaining rights with “right-to-work” laws and other efforts designed to diminish the bargaining power of employees. The Workplace Democracy Act would repeal “right-to-work” laws and reinstate labor protections that allow workers to more effectively negotiate with their employers.

Chairman Crowley recently joined Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Co-Chair of the Antitrust Caucus Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Co-Chair of the Antitrust Caucus Mark Pocan (D-WI) to introduce a similar package of bills that protect Americans against anti-competitive employment practices. Crowley’s legislation, the Workforce Mobility Act, bans non-compete agreements in the workplace by establishing that these contracts violate antitrust laws and by providing employees with a private right of action if they are illegally forced to sign a non-compete agreement.

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