Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has introduced a bill that would ban states from implementing so-called “right-to-work” laws, which suppress union activity and make it more difficult for workers to form unions.
The bill was introduced previously in 2017 and 2020. is known as theProtecting Workers and Improving the Labor Standards Act. It would rescind “right-to-work” laws — which are currently in place in 27 states and Guam — that prohibit unions from collecting dues from non-union members who are still covered under a union contract.
Labor organizers have been vocal opponents of such laws for years. They say they lower wages, and worsen working conditions for all workers. in states where “right-to-work” legislation is implemented, as data has shown.
“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,” Warren said.
“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,” she went on. She also advocated the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. This would greatly expand the ability for workers to form unions in the U.S.
18 senators and 12 House members cosponsored the bill, including prominent progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I – Vermont) and Rep. Pramila Jamila Jayapal(D-Washington). It has been approved. little chanceThe Senate filibuster is a bill that forces bills to clear a 60 vote threshold in order to pass.
The bill is also supported by major labor organizations, including the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Unions, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Unions (RWDSU), and the International Association of Machinists, IAM, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions, (UFCW).
As a press release on the bill points out, “right-to-work” laws result in 5 percent lower union rates and a decrease in overall wages for full-time workers of about $11,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Further, according toAccording to the AFL-CIO these workers have lower workplace fatality and health rates. These states also have a 15 percent higher poverty rate.
These laws are most likely to become law. played a large roleIn the U.S., declining union rates are a result. In the 1940s roughly a thirdA labor union was a union that employed a majority of workers. But union rates have been declining ever since then — with the majority of “right-to-work” laws being passed in the 40s and 50s, and a handful in the 2010s — and now sit at a mere 10.3 percent.
Pro-union advocates and labor experts say that “right-to-work” laws severely kneecapUnions are financially dependent on unions as they have to represent workers who may not be paying dues. Supporters of “right-to-work” claim that it gives workers more choice and boosts employment, but research shows that this isn’t true: states with such laws don’tHigher employment rates, which means that workers with weaker unions have less bargaining power, and less choice, than workers with stronger unions.
A ban on “right-to-work” has been proposed before, in the PRO Act. However, The PRO Act was approved the House last year, it’s never been taken up in the Senate, as several conservative DemocratsThey are opposed to its passage.