On March 8, 2011, Tim Judson, Progressive States Network's Workers' Rights Policy Specialist, testified at the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on the the national assault on worker's rights. The full testimony is available here.
On June 1, the New York Senate put the state in position to be first in the nation to enact a Domestic Workers' Rights law (S2311) by a vote of 33-28. The New York Assembly led the way in June 2009 when it passed its own version of the bill (A1470). This groundbreaking legislation will extend core labor rights, from fair labor standards to paid sick days, to creating a framework for collective bargaining, to domestic workers. This will include those employed to work in a private home to perform housekeeping and/or to care for children, the infirm, or the elderly.
On March 1st, a new law in New York
goes into effect, strengthening the freedom of employees to form labor
unions at hotels or convention centers run or funded by state
authorities, a dramatic victory for hotel workers in the state. The law has specific language
requiring that hotels or convention centers where state public
authorities have a substantial proprietary interest include a "labor
peace agreement" with hotel unions in the state in exchange for the
unions agreeing not to strike for five years. The law follows a
similar executive order by the Governor approved last year.
It seems relatively simple. The proposed federal Employee Free Choice
Act would give employees the freedom to form a union when a majority of
workers sign cards saying that they want one, avoiding the often months
of employer harassment that have inevitably accompanied traditional
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election processes.
With a new administration in Washington, D.C. promising to enact
federal labor law reform for the first time in generations,
corporations are plowing money into the states in an attempt to
undermine workers rights there. Calling itself the "Save Our Secret Ballot" (SOSB) coalition, this corporate effort is looking to amend the state constitutions
of Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada and Utah to block workers from
choosing majority sign-up rules to form unions -- a clear attempt to
thwart implementation of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act
which if enacted would give employees the choice of traditional
elections run by the federal government or signing authorization cards
by a majority of employees.
In honor of Labor Day, we thought we would highlight some of our past
Dispatches which outline steps states can take to protect workers'
rights and raise wage standards. With new Census data
showing that the median
income for working-age households is still $1,300 below 2001 when the last
recession hit bottom, the need for states to act to improve working conditions
is greater than ever.
week, the Oregon Senate voted to strengthen the
of state public employees to form unions, joining the Oregon House in
approving a bill,
2891, to simplify the organizing proces by having the state
government recognize a union for any set of workers where a majority of them
have signed cards to ask for a union.