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Government Workers ‘Don’t Have A Federal Right To Unionize,’ But Democrats ‘Want To Change That’ - New Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act Would Represent A ‘Major Shift’ In U.S. Labor Laws

Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019
by Alexia Fernandez Campbell/Vox
Government Workers ‘Don’t Have A Federal Right To Unionize,’ But Democrats ‘Want To Change That’ - New Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act Would Represent A ‘Major Shift’ In U.S. Labor Laws

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressional Democrats want to give all Government Employees the right to Unionize.

House and Senate Democrats plan to introduce a Bill that would give Public Sector Employees Collective Bargaining Rights for the first time under Federal Law, according to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union, which is pushing for the change.

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (Democrat-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (Democrat-Pennsylvania) will introduce the bill, called the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.

Unlike Employees who work for private businesses, the Nation’s 21 million Government Employees have no Collective Bargaining Rights under Federal Law.

Millions live in states that do let them organize and millions don’t.

The new Bill would require all states to let Government Employees organize and negotiate wages, hours and working conditions.

If passed (and that’s a big if), the Bill would represent a major shift in U.S. Labor Laws, essentially making the right to organize a fundamental right for all U.S. Workers.

The Bill is a direct response to last June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which banned Unions from collecting fees from Teachers, Firefighters, Police and other Government Employees they represent, unless those Workers are card-carrying Union Members.  That means Workers who pay dues are unfairly subsidizing Union Benefits for their Co-Workers who choose to pay nothing, which strains a Union’s finances.

It also comes at a time when Republican leaders, big businesses and the courts have doubled down on their attempts to weaken the influence of Labor Unions and the Workers they represent.

A record number of Workers went on Strike last year out of frustration with stagnant wages and benefit cuts, including Grocery Store Clerks and Hotel Housekeepers - but it all started with Government Employees: Public School Teachers.

Teachers in West Virginia started a national movement when they launched a major Strike last February.  They were angry that they hadn’t received an across-the-board salary raise since 2014 and were among the lowest-paid Teachers in the country.

A total of 35,000 Educators and School Staff didn’t show up for nearly two weeks.

Since then, more than 450,000 Workers in the U.S. have gone on Strike or stopped working because of Labor Disputes, the highest number since 1986.

What made the Teacher Strikes most remarkable, other than their sheer size, was the fact that many work stoppages happened in states where Government Employees have no legal right to Unionize or go on Strike.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report, Go To: www.vox.com/2019/6/25/18715531/public-sector-government-workers-union-bill-congress?fbclid=IwAR0nkRKPxwdvvkHC7SVPsETzKRK870jmatRBP-nN806y93e4ZOolZCgrmNQ

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