Mazie Hirono Wants to Protect Unions After Supreme Court Deals Blow to Labor
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) on Thursday introduced bicameral legislation to guarantee the right for public employees to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic protections. Joined by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), the lawmakers led nearly 50 Senate and House Democrats in introducing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. The Supreme Court ruled last week in Janus v. AFSCME that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions. If passed, this bill would enshrine into federal statutes the ability for public workers to form or join a labor organization that can bargain over issues such as wages, benefits and other terms and conditions, including grievance procedures. It would also require state and local government employers to recognize the unions and to negotiate with them on a good faith basis. The bill also provides for mediation and arbitration proceedings, while setting up a mechanism for employees to voluntarily have their union dues deducted from their paychecks. “The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus is just the latest blow in a decades-long attack on unions and their ability to lift American families into the middle class... We need to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act to protect and strengthen the fundamental the ability of unions to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages and working conditions that are critical to public-sector employees,” said Hirono. Co-sponsors of the Senate bill include Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), and co-sponsors of the House bill include Bobby Scott (D-VA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL). More here.