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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Strengthening collective bargaining is essential to reforming the rigged economy [feedly]

Strengthening collective bargaining is essential to reforming the rigged economy
http://www.epi.org/blog/strengthening-collective-bargaining-is-essential-to-reforming-the-rigged-economy/

Yesterday, Democratic lawmakers released another plank in their "Better Deal" agenda. The policy proposals included focus on strengthening workers' collective voice and ability to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. These are critical components of any meaningful attempt to reform an economy that is rigged against working people. They are essential to creating a fair economy. And they stand in stark contrast to Republican efforts to further advantage those at the top with a tax proposal that would provide 80 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent—households that currently have incomes of around $730,000 or more.

While the Republican tax proposals will do nothing to help boost workers' wages or overall economic leverage, today's "Better Deal" agenda would help to address these issues by promoting workers' freedom to organize and bargain collectively. The steady decline in unionization over the last 40 years has led to rising inequality and stagnant wages for the American middle class. Not only do union workers earn higher wages, unions have strong positive effects on the wages of comparable nonunion workers, as unions help to set standards for industries and occupations.

Figure A

Working people understand that the economy is not working for them and broadly support the right to organize. In fact, the majority of American workers would vote for union representation if they could. However, current policy fails to ensure that workers have this basic freedom. As private employer opposition to organizing has intensified, policymakers have failed to ensure that the law responds to the realities of the modern workplace. American workers deserve policies that boost our wages and restore our economic leverage and bargaining power. The agenda Democratic lawmakers introduced yesterday would make important strides toward this goal. Ensuring that working people can freely choose to join a union and bargain for better wages and working conditions, that workers are able to exert economic leverage when negotiation fails, and that employers who infringe on workers' freedoms face meaningful penalties is important. In fact, this was the promise of the National Labor Relations Act enacted over 80 years ago. Now, lawmakers need to work to again make this agenda a reality for America's workers.


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