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Workplace Democracy Act: EFCA Round 2

Kris LaGrange's picture
Oct 09, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) proposed the Workplace Democracy Act in their respective congressional chambers on Tuesday. This bill basically represents a second chance at passing the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which died in Congress in 2009 despite the hopes raised by Pres. Barack Obama's first election.

Like EFCA, the Workplace Democracy Act would streamline the unionization process and enforce penalties against employers who violate labor laws. If passed, the NLRB could then certify unions if a majority of workers sign authorization cards, and employers would be held to strict timelines for contract negotiations and mediation.

It's a desperately needed update to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The bill's sponsors and co-sponsors in Congress cited the past few decades of rising inequality, declining union membership, and widening CEO-to-worker pay gaps.

"Millions of Americans who today want to join unions, who understand that collective bargaining will raise their wages and income, are unable to do so because of the coercive and often illegal behavior of their employers," Sen. Sanders said, joined by Rep. Pocan and CWA President Chris Shelton. "That has to change."

Sen. Sanders introduced the Senate version of the bill (S. 2142) to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Co-sponsors include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and nine others.

Rep. Pocan introduced he House version (H.R. 3690) to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. It's co-sponsored by 24 of his fellow representatives, including New Jersey congressman and IBEW member Donald Norcross (D).

You can sign the petition supporting the Workplace Democracy Act.

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