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Senator Brown Introduces Bill Aimed at Restoring Workers' Rights to Form Unions and Bargain with Employers


October 8, 2015 - 2:21 AM


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced legislation to strengthen workers’ ability to unionize and bargain with their employer.

“For years, the ability of workers to unionize has given employees the opportunity to bargain for better wages and benefits. And unions have been one of our nation’s strongest voices for workplace safety and fairness. But over time, employers have steadily undermined workers’ ability to organize through nefarious tactics,” said Brown. “By allowing the use of the majority sign-up process and ensuring a timely contract negotiation, we can help restore this fundamental right to form a union.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than nonunion workers’ wages; 79 percent of union workers receive health insurance from their employers compared with 49 percent of nonunion workers; and 83 percent of union workers receive paid sick leave compared with 62 percent of nonunion workers.

The Workplace Democracy Actwould lift up workers by:

  • Making it easier for workers to form unions through a majority sign-up process. This would allow the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union as the collective bargaining representative if a majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization and the NLRB verifies that majority. Workers will be able to elect which process to use to form unions, rather than allowing employers to dictate the course of action.
  • Ensuring companies cannot prevent a union from forming by denying a first contract. This section would require an employer to begin negotiating a contract within 10 days after certification. If no agreement is reached after 90 days of negotiation, either party can request compulsory mediation. If a first contract is not reached after 30 more days of mediation, the parties would submit the remaining issues to binding arbitration.
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