Providing work for America’s workers (Part 3)


Part 3 – Protect Bargaining Rights
(A 5-part series by the Economic Policy Institute)

(The Economic Policy Institute has developed a FIVE POINT working people’s agenda to (1) provide a planning guideline for the new Trump administration to put Americans back to work and (2) provide a benchmark to judge whether or not President Trump is really the workingman’s president he pledged to be in his campaign. This is Point3.

Part 3: Protect the basic human right of worker organization

Protecting collectively bargain rights for wages, working conditions would help restore broad-based wage growth

In the debate about wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization and technological change. But unions, especially in industries and regions where they are strong, help boost the wages of all workers by establishing pay and benefit standards that many nonunion firms adopt.

Rebuilding the collective bargaining system is essential to restoring broad-based wage growth.

Independent, democratically run worker organizations provide workers with leverage to bargain for better wages and a voice to counterbalance the influence of corporate interests in politics.


The Workplace Action for a Growing Economy Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to strengthen protections for working people who organize and promote change through collective action. Specifically, the law would increase workers’ rights and protections by:

  • Tripling the back pay that employers must pay to workers who are fired or retaliated against because they engaged in collective action, regardless of immigration status.
  • Providing workers whose rights are violated with a private right of action to bring suit to recover monetary damages and attorneys’ fees in federal district court, just as they can under civil rights laws.
  • Providing for federal court injunctions to immediately return fired workers to their jobs.
  • Ensuring that the employers that actually control wages and working conditions will be jointly responsible for violations affecting workers supplied by another employer.

The WAGE Act would put an end to the financial incentives for employers to interfere with workers’ rights by allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to impose financial penalties—including on officers and directors, and to force companies to the bargaining table when their violations prevent a fair union election.

Next week: Agenda Point 4: Fight trades pacts slanted against workers.

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