New bill in Congress would crush employers that retaliate against union sympathists

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It’s seen by some as making labor organizing akin to a civil right.

Woo hoo!” said none of you.

On Wednesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), top members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act.

According to this fact sheet, the WAGE Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) increasing penalties on employers for unfair labor practices; namely:

  • Tripling the back pay that employers must pay to workers who are fired or retaliated against by their employers, regardless of immigration status.
  • Providing workers 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 employers will be jointly responsible for violations affecting workers supplied by another employer.

If enacted, the WAGE Act would also expose corporate officers to personal liability for violations of the NLRA.

For more on the WAGE Act check out this, this, and this.

Union membership in the private sector is 6.6%.  For many, the decline in union membership has more to do with the perceived lack of value in union membership versus efforts corporate efforts to hamper union growth. Indeed, only 37% of American adults want unions to have more power. While companies are well within their rights to tout the benefit of union-free workplace, this game-changing bill, if passed, may stifle those efforts.

However, with Republican control of both the House and Senate, the odds of the WAGE Act becoming law are slightly less than a bipartisan Ride The Train Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) “Hit the Quan” like the Minnesota Twins.

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  • James Young

    I wonder whether similar penalties and opportunities will be provided to employees’ whose Beck rights are violated by labor unions.

    Actually, no, I don’t.