WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to reintroduce the Nationwide Right to Unionize Act, legislation that would support the right to unionize by prohibiting states from banning union security agreements through “right-to-work” laws.
Twenty-seven states including Wisconsin have enacted “right-to-work” laws that prevent unions from collecting dues from non-union members who are covered under a union-negotiated contract. These laws make it more difficult for workers to form unions and fight for higher wages and better working conditions in the states that adopt them, resulting in a 5% decrease in unionization rates and a decrease in average wages for all full-time workers of 3.1%, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, or about $11,000 a year, according to a report released by Rep. Sherman’s office.
This bill was originally introduced in 2017 as the Protecting Workers and Improving Labor Standards Act and again in 2020. A similar proposal is included in the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which the lawmakers support and would protect American workers’ right to organize and negotiate for better wages and working conditions.
“Wisconsin has a proud tradition of respecting hard work and rewarding it by giving workers a strong voice,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to stand with labor unions and this legislation will strengthen the economic security of working families and move Wisconsin’s tradition of supporting workers forward.”
“Republicans and their corporate interest backers have imposed state laws with only one goal: destroy unions and discourage workers from organizing for higher wages, fair benefits, and safer working conditions,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “At a time when labor unions are growing in both size, popularity, and delivering real wins for workers, Democrats are making clear that we stand in solidarity with workers everywhere, from Starbucks baristas to Google cafeteria workers and everyone in between.”
“So called ‘right-to-work’ laws are designed to make it difficult to organize a union,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “This impacts not only workers who want a union – but general wage levels throughout the state. In an ill-conceived effort to attract business, one state after another has adopted these anti-union laws in a race to the bottom. That is why today I’m proud to partner with Senator Warren to reintroduce the National Right to Unionize Act – legislation I’ve introduced in every session of Congress since 2008.”
This legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Duckworth (D-Ill.), Wyden (D-Ore.), Luján (D-N.M.), Padilla (D-Calif.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Booker (D-N.J.), Markey (D-Mass.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Hassan (D-N.H.), Sanders (I-Vt.), Smith (D-Minn.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Cardin (D-Md.), Brown (D-Ohio), Hirono (D-Hawai’i), and Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Representatives Lynch (D-Mass.), Norton (D-DC), Garamendi (D-Calif.), Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Swalwell (D-Calif.), Moulton (D-Mass.), Speier (D-Calif.), Raskin (D-Md.), Brownley (D-Calif.), Kildee (D-Mich.), Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Jayapal (D-Wash.).
It has received support from the following advocacy and expert organizations: The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Steelworkers, Transport Workers Union of America, International Union of Operating Engineers, Communications Workers of America Union, Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Association of Machinists, United Food & Commercial Workers Union, and Aerospace Workers, Economic Policy Institute, Worker Power Coalition, and National Employment Law Project.
The full bill text is available here.