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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Congressman Sherman & Senator Elizabeth Warren Announce the Nationwide Right to Unionize Act


Jan 29, 2020
Press Release
Bill Would Ban So-Called "Right-to-Work" Laws That Harm Workers Rights and Wages

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), introduced legislation to eliminate so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws.

Sherman has introduced this legislation in every session of Congress since 2008. Today, this bill has 27 original cosponsors in the House. Sherman expects to add additional House co-sponsors in the coming weeks. Sherman consistently earns a 100 percent rating from the AFL-CIO.

“So called ‘Right-to-Work’ laws are designed to make it difficult to organize a union,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “This impacts not only workers who want a union -- but general wage levels throughout the state. In an ill-conceived effort to attract business, one state after another has adopted these anti-union laws in a race to the bottom.

Sherman continued: “That is why I’ve introduced the National Right to Unionize Act in every session of Congress since 2008. And, it is why Senator Warren’s years of effort to pass this legislation in the Senate are so important.”

“I support workers all the way as they join together and fight for their future,” Senator Warren said. “I’m glad to partner with Congressman Sherman on a bill that would protect workers across the country and ban states from imposing restrictions that drive down wages by preventing workers from unionizing.”

So called ‘Right-to-work’ laws have come to be known as ‘right-to-work-for-less’ laws. A study released by Sherman in July 2016 shows that wages in ‘right-to-work’ states average $8,723 a year less than workers in labor-rights states.

“With the introduction of legislation banning so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, Congressman Sherman and Senator Warren have once again demonstrated their strong commitment to working families,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “‘Right-to-work’ laws undermine the economy and weaken worker’s ability to bargain for better working conditions, which translates into lower pay and fewer benefits for everyone.”

In 1947, Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act (an Act that passed by overriding President Truman’s veto) allowed states to pass legislation that eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from those who benefit from union contracts.  The result encourages a race to the bottom, as states compete to attract employers by offering weak labor laws and, as a result, lower wages. Some 27 states have adopted so called “right-to-work” laws. Michigan and Wisconsin have adopted such laws claiming they had to do so to avoid losing jobs to neighboring states. The Sherman-Warren legislation would repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act and end “right-to-work” nationwide.