DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES SPONSOR A NEW LABOR BILL
At least seven Democratic candidates for President have cosponsored The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a bill introduced on May 2, 2019 in the Senate by Patty Murray (Wash.) and in the House by Bobby Scott (VA.). Among other things, the bill would do the following:
1. The NLRB could fine employers as well as allow equitable relief like back pay.
2. Workers would be allowed to take their employers to court for unfair labor practice violations rather than just to the NLRB.
3. Employers would be prohibited from hosting "captive audience" meetings with workers when they seek to join unions.
4. Employers would be limited in their rights to require mandatory individual arbitration of employee claims, and prohibiting employers from forcing their employees to waive their right to bring class action claims.
5. The bill would support public sector unions by allowing employers and unions to enter into contracts where unions can collect "fair-share" fees from non-union workers.
6. The bill also would expand the definition of employee to discourage the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
Among those co-sponsoring this bill are Senators Kamala Harris (Cal.), Bernie Sanders (VT.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio). The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, supported by various industry groups, calls the bill "an attempt to increase union membership at any cost." In a related development, Bernie Sanders has entered into a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of his campaign staff with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.