Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Restore the Middle Class

Bernie Background

Re-posted from BernieSanders.com

The middle class is at a tipping point, and it won’t last another generation if we don’t boldly change course now.

The surest path to the middle class for American workers is with unions. The security and strength of a union job means that workers can have good pay, health care, and a voice at work.

Today our country celebrates Labor Day in honor of the working people who fought for our rights to regular hours, fair pay, and a decent living. For decades, the labor movement propped up the middle class in America by ensuring a level playing field for workers.

There are many reasons for the growing inequality in our economy, but perhaps the most significant reason for the disappearing middle class is that the rights of workers to join together and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions have been severely undermined.

That is why this fall Bernie will introduce a bill in Congress whose sole purpose is to restore and encourage workers’ rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. It’s called the Workplace Democracy Act, and if it is made law, it will help rebuild the middle class.

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Workers need unions because there are people working for minimum wage, barely able to afford to put food on the table — if even that. There are people whose jobs are dangerous, or even life-threatening, who can’t speak up for workplace safety for fear of being fired. And there are countless people working without sick days or even health insurance.

Unions change that equation. When workers have unions, they are no longer afraid to speak up. They have a clear path to getting health care, sick days, basic safety precautions, and better pay. They don’t have to live in fear of their employers, and they can work to provide for their families.

That is unfortunately far from the reality that exists today. Under the current law, it is incredibly easy for corporations to prevent workers from joining unions. One in five workers who try to form a union today will be fired for doing so. And half of all employers threaten to close or relocate their businesses if workers elect to form a union.

But there’s effectively no deterrence for when companies do break the law. The penalties are far too weak, and there is no incentive to stop corporations from dragging their feet when workers want to negotiate contracts.

The Workplace Democracy Act changes that equation. The bill would:

Ensure companies can’t prevent workers from getting a first contract.
Make it easier for workers to form unions through a majority sign up process.
Strengthen the enforcement when corporations break the law.
This is a commonsense idea that will help our economy and rebuild the middle class.

Can you say you support it?

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G.A. Casebeer