The Nation reports that House Democrats John Lewis (GA) and Keith Ellison (MN) plan on introducing legislation that would make labor organizing akin to a civil right. As currently written, the bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act to make union campaigning a fundamental legal right similar to the right to be free from age, sex, or racial discrimination in the workplace.
If an employer violated the amended Act, an employee could seek redress in federal courts after 180 days. This plan of action, similar to the current processes in place for EEOC processes, which place the allegedly aggrieved employee in the drivers’ seat. Under current labor law, an employee must rely on the results of a National Labor Relations Board investigation before finding out whether a complaint may move forward.
Representative Ellison justified the proposed legislation in a statement to The Nation:
“[The NLRB] remedy, though useful and very important, and nothing in our legislation changes that, that remedy is considered slow and somewhat inadequate. For some of these union-busting law firms, [they] will say ‘so do it and we’ll just pay.’”
We will be following this legislation closely. In its current form, it is quite unlikely that the bill will go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House. Regardless, we will keep you posted.