Wyden, Merkley Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Workers’ Rights in Wake of Supreme Court Janus Decision
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley last week introduced legislation to guarantee the right for public employees to organize, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic protections, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to weaken the power of labor unions in Janus v. AFSCME.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling last week marks a dangerous and devastating attack on unions and equality for workers,” Wyden said. “The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will protect the essential hard-earned rights of American workers by safeguarding paychecks and benefits they bring home to their families, and ensuring they can negotiate on equal ground with their employers and unions for fair wages and fair working conditions.”
“We will not let the Janus ruling stand in the way of our efforts to protect workers, create jobs, and build the middle class,” Merkley said. “When unions win, everyone wins. Wages rise and conditions and benefits improve—and not just for unionized workers, either. This bill will protect public workers’ fundamental rights to organize and continue the fight for our ‘We the People’ democracy.”
The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will ensure public sector employees across the country have the legal right to form and join a union and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing over wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Public employers are also required to recognize their employees’ union and to commit to any agreements in a written contract. The bill reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to encourage collective bargaining as a way of promoting stable, cooperative relationships between public employees and their employers.
Additional cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tom Carper, D-Del., Bob Casey, D-Penn., Chris Coons, D-Del., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
The House bill is cosponsored by Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Bobby Scott, D-Va., Matt Cartwright, D-Penn., David Cicilline, D-R.I., Don Beyer, D-Va., Susan Bonamici, D-Ore., Stephen Cohen, D-Tenn., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Gene Green, D-Texas, Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Jan Shakowsky, D-Ill., Kurt Shrader, D-Ore., Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Frederica Wilson, D-Fla.
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