Legislation will protect the rights of public sector employees

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Editor's note: PA Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) introduced legislation last month to protect the rights of public sector employees across the nation and ensure their fair treatment at the workplace.

To the Editor:

The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will establish the right of every public sector employee to join a union and bargain collectively. It empowers the Federal Labor Relations Authority to ensure that state and local government employees are treated fairly and that workplace conditions meet a proper standard, something that every employee deserves whether they choose to join a union or not.

This legislation will help teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public employees who are vital to our American way of life. As many of them struggle just to put food on the table, we must protect their ability to bargain collectively for fair pay and workplace protections. I’m proud to stand with unions and their members, who have historically ensured basic rights such as a minimum wage standard, eight-hour workdays, and employer-sponsored health insurance.

This legislation is being introduced the week of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which four decades of legal precedent were ignored to undermine the ability of public sector workers to negotiate for better pay and safer workplaces. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that non-union public workers were not obligated to pay ‘fair share’ fees which covered collective bargaining costs. The 2018 ruling was widely criticized by unions across the country, given its devastating effects on the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better workplace conditions.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright

8th Congressional District (Lackawanna, Wayne, and Pike Counties, and portions of Luzerne and Monroe Counties)

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