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Toomey filibusters Womens’ Paycheck Fairness Act

U.S. Senator Toomey speaks to the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in WashingtonTo the Women of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

My name is Patrick Toomey and I am your United States Senator from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Here I am in my best charcoal gray and red tie. I am pointing because I am a serious man, and behind me is the Flag of our Nation. I believe in the Flag and the Constitution it represents.

Perhaps I should qualify that. You see, while I am generally a serious man, I am not serious about pay equality for women. And while I believe in the Constitution, I am not a big fan of the Equal Protection clause. That’s why on Wednesday, I joined my fellow Senate Republicans and unanimously voted against advancing the Paycheck Fairness Act.

All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, but they are Democrats and my job is to block whatever they try to do, at all costs.

The bill I filibustered would have banned the practice of salary secrecy for all workers, about half of whom are either forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with coworkers. For the general workforce, women who work full-time, year-round make 77 percent of what the same men make. The bill would also have narrowed what would count as a legitimate business-related reason for pay disparities between men and women with the same skill, responsibility, and working conditions. It would also have increased penalties for those that don’t have reasonable reasons for gaps in pay.

The best solution to the pay gap is to hope that employers change their minds some day, and begin paying women pay equal to what they pay men for the same work. If they do not, that’s just life.

Democrats seek to reverse anti-worker Supreme Court ruling


Why do the five ultra-conservative members of the Supreme Court – Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito – seek to undermine the United States’ Civil Rights Laws at every opportunity? Because those laws conflict with their right wing ideologies. And once again, Congress is being called on to pass corrective legislation to restore the rights of ordinary American workers.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee; and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to recently introduce legislation to give American workers the opportunity to succeed free of workplace harassment. The Fair Employment Protection Act corrects the error of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Vance v. Ball State University, which significantly weakened the ability of workplace harassment victims to seek legal recourse. The legislation restores workplace protections weakened by the Vance decision to ensure that Americans harassed on the job by supervisors and those with authority to direct people’s day-to-day work are treated fairly and receive the justice they deserve.

‎”Promoting fair and open workplaces is essential to ensuring that millions of hardworking Americans find good jobs so that our economy can continue to grow. Unfortunately, evidence shows that workplace harassment remains an issue for many Americans, particularly women. The Supreme Court recently exacerbated the problem when a slim majority decided to significantly weaken the protections for workers from harassment,” Harkin said. “The Fair Employment Protection Act would help restore the protections under the Civil Rights Act so that we once again have zero-tolerance for discrimination in the workplace. The bill will give a voice to every American who has experienced workplace harassment, and will help ensure that they get the justice they deserve. I am proud to join Senator Baldwin in introducing this bill and urge my colleagues to support this critical measure.”

“If you work hard and play by the rules you should have the opportunity to get ahead,” Baldwin said. “Unfortunately, workplace harassment remains an unacceptable reality that threatens the economic security of far too many people, particularly women, working to build a better future for themselves and their families. Harassment has no place in the workplace and should never impede economic success. I’m proud to introduce the Fair Employment Protection Act to restore important workplace protections, move this issue forward, and help provide American workers the level playing field they deserve.”

“Hard-working Americans should not have their livelihoods threatened by harassment in the workplace. To better protect workers, the Fair Employment Protection Act reverses a recent Supreme Court decision that made it harder for victims of unlawful and insidious harassment to hold their employers accountable,” Miller said. “By restoring strong legal protections, this bill will help ensure that employees who work hard and play by the rules receive the justice they deserve and thrive in their workplace.

“The Vance v. Ball State University decision reinforced the Roberts Court’s reputation as the most anti-worker Supreme Courts in our nation’s history,” DeLauro said. “Just as they did with Lilly Ledbetter’s case, a narrow majority struck at the heart of longstanding civil rights laws. I am proud to stand with my colleagues today in introducing legislation to overturn that decision.”

Workplace harassment on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, and genetic information is currently prohibited under federal employment nondiscrimination law. Under the law, employers have a heightened legal obligation to protect against harassment by those with authority over other employees and as a result, employees enjoy real protections and employers are provided with compelling incentives to prevent and resolve this kind of harassment.

However, on June 24, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in Vance v. Ball State University weakening these critical protections against harassment. The Court held that the heightened obligations on employers to prevent and remedy harassment apply only when the harasser is a supervisor with the power to hire, fire, or take other tangible employment actions against the victim employee. When harassment is committed by someone who has the power to control a workers’ daily work life, but not the power to hire or fire, a slim Court majority said that the employer has no heightened legal obligations.

The Fair Employment Protection Act corrects the error in the Vance decision and clarifies when employers should be held directly responsible for unlawful harassment. The legislation would include not just supervisors who can hire and fire, but also those whom the employer has put in charge of an employee’s daily work activities, thus able to reassign an employee whom they are harassing.

“Since the Supreme Court made it harder for survivors of harassment to have their day in court, it’s critical to pass the Fair Employment Protection Act, said Fatima Goss Graves, National Women’s Law Center Vice-President for Education and Employment. “This bill recognizes the reality of the American workplace, where many harassers don’t have the power to hire and fire but still have significant authority over millions of workers. Strong protections are especially important for workers in low-wage jobs who are particularly vulnerable to harassment and are often overseen by those with significant authority over their work lives other than hiring and firing power. The bill will restore the ability of survivors to effectively challenge their harassment.”

“The Vance decision made low wage workers more vulnerable than ever to harassment and intimidation from management. By redefining ‘supervisor’ to exclude the managers that interact with workers on a day-to-day basis, the Supreme Court has given corporations and middle management a free pass to skirt liability for abusing employees and lowered penalties for when they’re found guilty,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Times have never been more precarious for the American worker and passing this bill is an important step toward ensuring greater security and peace of mind for our workforce.”

On other notable occasions, Congress has needed to step in to correct unduly restrictive Court interpretations of federal workplace protections. For example, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1991 in response to a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited the rights of employees. Most recently, in 2009, Congress passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to address a Court decision restricting remedies for individuals bringing pay discrimination lawsuits.

The Fair Employment Protection Act has earned strong support in both houses of Congress. Senate cosponsors include: Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). See what they are saying here. In the House, the legislation has 17 cosponsors. This bill is also supported by over 50 national organizations; see a list and what they are saying here. Additional background can be found here.


Philadelphia protects pregnant workers from discrimination

CaptureFollowing a new national report revealing that pregnant women face significant barriers in the workplace, the City of Philadelphia passed new legislation that will  improve workplace conditions for pregnant employees. The new amendment to the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance prohibits pregnancy-related discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees who have needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The ordinance extends protections beyond those in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It became effective January 20, 2014.

The Women’s Law Project, PathWays, and the Maternity Care Coalition testified to the city council in support of the bill, as did Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the agency responsible for enforcing the ordinance. Landau noted that the majority of Philadelphia children—53 percent—are raised by one parent, most often a woman. “Very simply put,” she said, “women cannot afford to lose their jobs or income due to pregnancy or childbirth.” She told the council about some women she has met through her agency that could have benefited from this amendment, among them a waitress dealing with morning sickness who was fired for frequent trips to the bathroom and a nurse who was fired after requesting an extended leave of absence in the wake of a diagnosis of a condition that required rest.

Under the new law, discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” is specifically defined as a form of sex discrimination. In addition, the ordinance defines the failure to provide reasonable accommodation as an unlawful employment practice. Typical accommodations include restroom breaks, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, assistance with manual labor, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, reassignment to a vacant position, and job restructuring.

Aggrieved employees may seek  injunctive and other equitable relief, as well as compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

In the state legislature, the new Women’s Health Caucus recently announced bills that would provide similar protections in both the House and Senate. Pennsylvania workers file more pregnancy discrimination charges than in more than 40 other States, yet Pennsylvania law currently offers few protections against pregnancy-related discrimination.

OFCCP Rule Strengthens Disability Protections

On August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced a Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) at 41 CFR Part 60-741. Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The Final Rule strengthens the affirmative action provisions of the regulations to aid contractors in their efforts to recruit and hire IWDs, and improve job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Final Rule also makes changes to the nondiscrimination provisions of the regulations to bring them into compliance with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2013, and becomes effective on March 24, 2014. However, current contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements. The compliance structure seeks to provide contractors the opportunity to maintain their current AAP cycle.

Highlights of the Final Rule:

Utilization goal: The Final Rule establishes a nationwide 7% utilization goal for qualified IWDs. Contractors will apply the goal to each of their job groups, or to their entire workforce if the contractor has 100 or fewer employees. Contractors must conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment of problem areas, and establish specific action-oriented programs to address any identified problems.

Data collection: The Final Rule requires that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of IWDs who apply for jobs and the number of IWDs they hire. Having this data will assist contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.

Invitation to Self-Identify: The Final Rule requires that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as IWDs at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, using language prescribed by OFCCP. The Final Rule also requires that contractors invite their employees to self-identify as IWDs every five years, using the prescribed language. This language will be posted on the OFCCP website.

Incorporation of the EO Clause: The Final Rule requires that specific language be used when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference. The mandated language, though brief, will alert subcontractors to their responsibilities as Federal contractors.

Records Access: The Final Rule clarifies that contractors must allow OFCCP to review documents related to a compliance check or focused review, either on-site or off-site, at OFCCP’s option. In addition, the Final Rule requires contractors, upon request, to inform OFCCP of all formats in which it maintains its records and provide them to OFCCP in whichever of those formats OFCCP requests.

ADAAA: The Final Rule implements changes necessitated by the passage of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 by revising the definition of “disability” and certain nondiscrimination provisions of the implementing regulations.

Discrimination getting cheaper by the year

I have always thought it contradictory that we proclaim strong national policies against intentional discrimination in the workplace but then cap the damages available to victims of discrimination. If we are serious about our commitment to preventing discrimination at work, we must abolish existing statutory caps on compensatory and punitive damages.

Under the maximum statutory cap now in place, a victim of employment discrimination cannot recover more than $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Only employers with 500 or more employees are subject to this maximum cap. Smaller employers enjoy caps substantially lower.

A jury is never told of the damages cap. A jury may find that $1 Million is the appropriate amount of compensatory and punitive damages, only to see a judge slash its award down to the statutory cap. Worse, the caps were set in 1991 and were not indexed to inflation. $300,000 awarded in 1991 is only about $177,000 in today’s dollars. For an award in 2013 to have the same value as a $300,000 award in 1991, it would need to be about $500,000. Congress, by failing to index caps to inflation, has been steadily lowering the price of discrimination in the United States, and has been handing out coupons making it cheaper and cheaper for employers to discriminate with each passing year.

The cap on punitive damages makes the least sense of all. Punitive damages exist to deter employers from discriminating and to punish them when they do. The amount of punitive damages that can serve these goals varies directly with an employer’s size and wealth. In 2012 alone, Exxon Mobil made $45 Billion in profit. That’s $45 Million multiplied by a million. Will a company that wealthy care about a $300,000 punitive damages award?

If we truly care about ending discrimination in the workplace, Congress must stop coddling U.S. employers and allow juries to penalize discrimination when it has been proven in a court of law.

Pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

A report released last week by two legal advocacy groups found pregnant workers are routinely discriminated against when they need accommodations due to the physical demands of pregnancy.

The DC-based National Women’s Law Center and Better Balance in New York found that women workers around the country, particularly those in low-wage jobs and fields predominately held by men, faced a number of barriers that forced them out of work earlier than planned; caused miscarriages, pregnancy complications and other health problems; and put the women and their families in dire economic straits.

The report calls for the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, introduced in Congress last month, which seeks to clarify the intention of the 2008 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to pregnant workers, who are entitled to be accommodated on par with employees with temporary disabilities. The report also calls for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to do more to inform and guide employers about their legal obligations to pregnant workers.

The EEOC has litigated a host of gender and pregnancy discrimination cases including the recent appeals court victory in the case of a Texas woman who was fired for asking her employer if she would be able to pump breast milk when she returned to work. But the report’s authors want the agency to do more to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place.

“The thing about pregnancy is that it’s a relatively short period of time, and if a woman has to pursue her case through the legal process, probably she’s already lost,” said Liz Watson with the National Women’s Law Center. “The sooner we get clarification from the EEOC about what the law requires, we’re going to be able to head a lot of this off.”

The report highlights the stories of several women including Peggy Young, who worked for UPS when she said she was told the company’s light duty policy did not extend to pregnant workers and that she could not come back to work until she was no longer pregnant because she was “too much of a liability.” Young asked the US Supreme Court to review her case after an appeals court ruled that UPS did not violate the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which says employers must treat pregnant employees the same as other workers with the similar ability to do their jobs. She lost her health insurance and disability rights related to pregnancy and childbirth. “What started as a very happy pregnancy became one of the most stressful times of my life,” she said.

Guadalupe Hernandez (a pseudonym) worked at a fast food restaurant and received excellent performance reviews. But when she became pregnant, her supervisor refused her bathroom breaks and forbade her to drink water on the job although other workers were permitted to do so. He eventually fired her in front of her coworkers. “For the first time in my life, I had to ask for government assistance,” she said. “I tried to look for other work, but every time I went to a potential employer they looked at my bellow and said ‘no.’ My husband, who was not working at the time, my older child and my baby paid the price.”

“By all means this is something we are seeking to eradicate,” said EEOC spokesperson Justine Lisser. She said EEOC’s recently issued strategic enforcement plan for fiscal years 2013 to 2016 will give priority to issues associated with significant demographic changes. A May report by Pew Research found 40 percent of working mothers are now the primary income earners for their families.

“Speaking anecdotally, a lot of it is not subtle compared to other forms of discrimination that we see,” said Lisser. “A lot of it is the manager telling the employee, ‘We’re putting you on reduced hours because pregnant women need to rest; my wife needed to rest, so you need to rest.’ ”

The economic repercussions of this type of overreach can be devastating for expecting mothers and their families. Other forms of workplace discrimination put the health of expecting mothers at risk. Watson said the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a necessity to protect simple accommodations like allowing pregnant workers to stay off high ladders, drink water on the job and sit on a stool instead of stand. Women who work in low-wage jobs where they may have little control over their duties and work conditions and are under close supervision stand to benefit the most from these types of improvements, but Watson said it doesn’t end there.

“The more that this right to accommodation becomes more a part of the fabric of the workplace,” she said, “it’s going to be good for all workers.”

Watson thinks employers would benefit, too. She said the employers profiled in the report “are often making decisions that are, frankly, against their economic interest, that are resulting in higher workforce turnover, that are lowering employee morale, that are making it harder for employees to do their jobs.” She and her coauthors found the cost of accommodating pregnant workers was zero. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has found that half of accommodations for workers with disabilities cost employers nothing, and those that cost, typically involve a one-time outlay of about $500.

In 2006 to 2008, close to 88 percent of mothers who worked while pregnant worked into their last two months of pregnancy, and 82 percent worked into their last month of pregnancy, according to US Census data.

A 20% premium wage just for being male

The Equal Pay Act has been law for 50 years, but women are still way behind men in earnings.

April 9 is the date when U.S. working women finally catch up to the amount men earned by last December 31. That’s because the gender pay gap between women and men for full time year round workers is 20 cents on the dollar, and it’s not closing. In fact, it’s getting wider. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, at current rates it will take another 45 years for women to catch up.

There are a number of causes for the pay gap, including job segregation ( “men’s jobs” – like plumbing, pay more than “women’s jobs” – like teaching). And more women take time out to care for kids and aging parents. But as many women know, plain old sex discrimination plays a big part. Lilly Ledbetter found out the hard way after 19 years at Goodyear, when she learned she had been underpaid all along compared to men doing the same job. Her case went all the way to the Supreme Court – where she lost. The conservatives on the Supreme Court said she should have complained earlier, even though she didn’t know about the discrimination earlier.

Congress fixed that catch-22 with Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first law President Obama signed. But that very small step for womankind was not nearly enough. The main reason Ledbetter got shafted was that she didn’t know her situation compared to the men. Employers still have no obligation to report pay statistics, and in most companies you can even get fired for talking pay with co-workers.

There’s a new bill – The Paycheck Fairness Act – to stop these arbitrary firings – if Congress ever passes it. Another tiny step, but it does nothing to help women learn how they’re being paid compared to men in the first place.

President Obama could fix a big part of the problem even without Congress. He could issue an Executive Order not only banning the practice of firing people for talking about pay, but also requiring employers to release pay statistics by gender. Not all employers, of course – just those that want federal contracts, paid for with your tax dollars. In this day of bailouts and boondoggles at taxpayer expense, citizens footing the bills have a right to know that any company getting government business pays its workers fairly.

Contact Pittsburgh employment lawyer Charles A. Lamberton at 412-258-2250 or visit the our Pittsburgh employment law firm website at for more information.

Raise the Minimum Wage

A few remarks from a Nobel-prize winning economist on raising the minimum wage –

[The President has called for] a rise in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9, with subsequent increases in line with inflation. The question we need to ask is: Would this be good policy? And the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is a clear yes.

Why “surprisingly”? Well, Economics 101 tells us to be very cautious about attempts to legislate market outcomes. Every textbook — mine included — lays out the unintended consequences that flow from policies like rent controls or agricultural price supports. And even most liberal economists would, I suspect, agree that setting a minimum wage of, say, $20 an hour would create a lot of problems.

But that’s not what’s on the table. And there are strong reasons to believe that the kind of minimum wage increase the president is proposing would have overwhelmingly positive effects.

First of all, the current level of the minimum wage is very low by any reasonable standard. For about four decades, increases in the minimum wage have consistently fallen behind inflation, so that in real terms the minimum wage is substantially lower than it was in the 1960s. Meanwhile, worker productivity has doubled. Isn’t it time for a raise?

Now, you might argue that even if the current minimum wage seems low, raising it would cost jobs. But there’s evidence on that question — lots and lots of evidence, because the minimum wage is one of the most studied issues in all of economics. U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many “natural experiments” here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment.

Why is this true? That’s a subject of continuing research, but one theme in all the explanations is that workers aren’t bushels of wheat or even Manhattan apartments; they’re human beings, and the human relationships involved in hiring and firing are inevitably more complex than markets for mere commodities. And one byproduct of this human complexity seems to be that modest increases in wages for the least-paid don’t necessarily reduce the number of jobs.

What this means, in turn, is that the main effect of a rise in minimum wages is a rise in the incomes of hard-working but low-paid Americans — which is, of course, what we’re trying to accomplish.

Finally, it’s important to understand how the minimum wage interacts with other policies aimed at helping lower-paid workers, in particular the earned-income tax credit, which helps low-income families who help themselves. The tax credit — which has traditionally had bipartisan support, although that may be ending — is also good policy. But it has a well-known defect: Some of its benefits end up flowing not to workers but to employers, in the form of lower wages. And guess what? An increase in the minimum wage helps correct this defect. It turns out that the tax credit and the minimum wage aren’t competing policies, they’re complementary policies that work best in tandem.

So Mr. Obama’s wage proposal is good economics. It’s also good politics: a wage increase is supported by an overwhelming majority of voters, including a strong majority of self-identified Republican women (but not men). Yet G.O.P. leaders in Congress are opposed to any rise. Why? They say that they’re concerned about the people who might lose their jobs, never mind the evidence that this won’t actually happen. But this isn’t credible.

For today’s Republican leaders clearly feel disdain for low-wage workers. Bear in mind that such workers, even if they work full time, by and large don’t pay income taxes (although they pay plenty in payroll and sales taxes), while they may receive benefits like Medicaid and food stamps. And you know what this makes them, in the eyes of the G.O.P.: “takers,” members of the contemptible 47 percent who, as Mitt Romney said to nods of approval, won’t take responsibility for their own lives.

Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, offered a perfect illustration of this disdain last Labor Day: He chose to commemorate a holiday dedicated to workers by sending out a message that said nothing at all about workers, but praised the efforts of business owners instead.  The good news is that not many Americans share that disdain. We should raise the minimum wage, now.

War on the middle class

“Right-to-work” laws weaken unions by making them provide services to union and nonunion members alike, without making all beneficiaries pay their fair share. By severely weakening unions, which are vital to strengthening the middle class and improving the economy, “right-to-work” laws have broad negative consequences.  Here are the key facts you need to know about unions’ value for the economy and the middle class.

1. Unionization increases income, not just for union workers but also for the entire middle class. A study conducted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund controlled for a host of other factors that also impact the strength of a state’s middle class—such as education, unemployment, and types of industries—and found that if unionization rates increased by 10 percentage points, the typical middle-class household, unionized or not, would earn $1,501 more each year. To put that figure in perspective, we found that a 10 percentage-point increase in the share of the population with a college degree would increase the average middle-class income by $1,664 a year.

2. In non-“right-to-work” states, workers are more likely to receive employer-provided health insurance and pensions. Workers in “right-to-work” states are significantly less likely to receive employer-provided health insurance and pensions. If benefits coverage in non-“right-to-work” states were lowered to the levels of states with these laws, 2 million fewer workers would receive health insurance and 3.8 million fewer workers would receive pensions nationwide.

3. Unions improve workplace policies and have beneficial policy effects more broadly. Unions advocate for broader worker protections needed for families to make human-capital investments—strong public education, social safety nets, minimum wages, paid leave, and even civil rights and efficient regulation.

4. Unions balance structures of power in the workplace, resulting in greater efficiency. Unions support high-productivity workplaces where information can flow from the bottom-up to improve business performance.

5. “Right-to-work” legislation fails to grow state economies. The laws have failed to increase employment growth in the 23 states that have adopted them, and in states more recently adopting “right-to-work” policies, employment growth and business relocations have reversed their previous expanding trends. In other words, the economic evidence shows that unions and union membership—not “right-to-work” laws—are what are conducive to broad economic growth.

6. Unions strengthen businesses and the economically vital middle class by giving workers a voice in both the workplace and our democracy. Unions do this by pushing for fair wages and good benefits, and also by encouraging citizens to advocate for middle-class-friendly policies such as a strong Social Security system and family-leave benefits.



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