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With the State of Emergency surrounding COVID-19 Wisconsinites should be prepared to vote In-Person or Early in the Spring Election

Support for the labor movement is the highest in nearly half a century, yet only one in 10 workers are members of unions today. How can both be true?

Ivanka Trump took the stage at CES on Tuesday to muted reception. Forty minutes later, she left to robust applause.

Union leaders and labor rights advocates applauded the Democrat-controlled U.S. House for passing landmark legislation Thursday night that supporters have called one of the most notable efforts to expand workers' rights in several decades. "Make no mistake, this is the most significant step Congress has taken to strengthen labor laws in the United States in 85 years and a win for workers everywhere," said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, declaring the measure "the labor movement's number one legislative priority this year."

Most significant step Congress has taken to strengthen labor laws in the United States in 85 years is a win for workers everywhere

Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale on the House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474):  

Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are kicking off 2020 with a package of bills to support American workers and American-made products by updating our state procurement processes to support buying local, made in the USA goods when possible. The 2020 "Buy American" legislation package is a commonsense set of bills that will prioritize made in the USA goods in our state and local communities’ procurement processes. This will encourage economic growth, boost American manufacturing, and support America’s workers and middle class.

Right now, Congress has a critical opportunity to strengthen workers’ rights.

Lawmakers, in 2019, introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, H.R. 2474, which would give millions of America’s workers additional protections to organize and negotiate for better pay and benefits, and a voice on the job.

The Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ended 2019 by rolling back another round of Obama-era regulations and handing down a number of pro-employer decisions. One of those rulings restricts workers from wearing union buttons and other pro-labor insignia. The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart) had challenged a company policy limiting the size of union buttons for employees of the retail corporation. The group seemingly had momentum on its side.

In the 1930s, at the time of the writing of the Wagner Act—the law which grants workers the right to form unions and collectively bargain— union organizing took place during shift changes on factory floors and over beers in union halls. The law protected workers from retaliation for this type of in-real-life organizing, and it still does. But times have changed, and often the only points of contact for workers at any given company are email, Slack, and Facebook groups.

“There is precious little in this deal that addresses China’s long-standing denial of basic labor rights,” said Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO. “It is another big giveaway to Wall Street and Big Pharma and prioritizes new protections for companies that move to China, creating even more incentives for outsourcing.”

Congratulations, and welcome to the American workforce! Many years of work and school brought you to this new place of early mornings, long hours and way too much coffee. You’re probably a little worried, and that’s okay. Between impressing your boss and working through mountains of student debt, it can be a lot to think about.