Labor Policy after the Midterms

Posted by Olivia Grady on Monday, November 12th, 2018 at 10:52 am - Permalink

On November 6, 2018, Americans voted for a divided government. The Democrats will now control the House of Representatives, while Republicans will retain control of the Senate.

What do the election results mean for labor policy?

Democrat Representatives Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) on September 5, 2018, released a report and legislative action plan entitled, “The Future of Work, Wages & Labor.”

The report highlights the labor policy recommendations of the Democrat party.

With the Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, Americans can expect that some of these ideas will be shortly introduced as bills.

One example of their proposals is the Pass the Government by the People Act. This legislation would give citizens a tax credit for campaign contributions. The government would then match the contribution and put it in a Freedom from Influence Matching Fund. The fund would donate to candidates who limited large donations.

Another bill mentioned in the report is the Pass the Reward Work Act, sponsored by Congressman Keith Ellison and Senator Tammy Baldwin. The legislation would force companies to allow workers to elect one-third of the Board of Directors. It would also eliminate the safe harbor for stock buybacks.

A final example is the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The report also mentions the Workplace Democracy Act, the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act, and the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act as part of its supplemental menu. The Workplace Democracy Act was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Mark Pocan on May 9, 2018. The bill would repeal state Right-to-Work laws, codify the Obama Administration’s broad definition of joint employer, expand the Obama Administration’s persuader rule, among others. 

The WAGE Act would create penalties for employers who prevented workers from joining a union. The bill would also stop employers from misclassifying their employees as supervisors or independent contractors. The legislation finally makes organizing a union easier for workers.

The Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act would forbid employers from adding clauses to the contracts of employees prohibiting them from suing the employer in a class action lawsuit. The bill would also allow unions to collect fees from all employees in the bargaining unit, even those who aren’t union members. In addition, the legislation would remove limitations on strikes and picketing.

However, while these bills might be popular with Democrats, Republicans still control the Senate. It is, therefore, unlikely that the Senate would pass any of these bills.