My Position on Empowering Labor Unions
“For far too long, the rights of millions of American workers have been undermined and attacked in this country. If we want to rebuild our economy, we have to start by supporting the men and women who are the backbone of our economy – America’s union workers. When unions are strong – our country, our city and our communities are strong.” – Congresswoman Marie Newman
Raised by a union family, Congresswoman Newman knows firsthand how labor’s fair wages, strong protections and high-quality health care can lift up a family to the middle class. However, over the past several decades, the nation’s stagnated wages, attacks on workers’ rights and rising income inequality have decimated local union membership and the rest of Illinois’ middle class. Every American family in this country deeply values the dignity of hard work and having a stable, good-paying job and historically, our unions have been the strongest road to such a life.
Congresswoman Newman has been clear that to build back our economy, we need to ensure labor is strong once again and residents have a pathway to good-paying union jobs. That’s why she voted to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act — landmark legislation designed to protect workers’ rights to organize and help rebuild the middle class by improving the quality of life for workers and their families. As the most significant upgrade for workers’ collective bargaining rights in more than 80 years, the PRO Act provides new tools to protect workers from anti-union intimidation and retaliation, and establishes stronger safeguards to ensure workers can hold free and fair union elections. The passage of the PRO Act included an amendment proposed by Congresswoman Newman, which would require that all notices informing workers of their rights to organize to be posted in the languages spoken by the employees.
In June 2021, Congresswoman Newman led 39 other members of Congress in a letter to President Biden urging him to issue an executive order to protect all workers who work on federal contracts from forced arbitration. The lawmakers urged President Biden to use his executive authority under the Procurement Act to further ensure these forced arbitration clauses no longer threaten the progress that has been made towards safer and fairer workplaces.