Labor Leaders Agree: American Workers Need A ‘Better Deal’ – Leaders & Advocates From Across The Country Stood With Senate Dems Today To Unveil Their Plan To Put Workers’ Rights First & Strengthen Their Freedom To Negotiate With Employers

Labor Leaders & Worker Advocates From Across U.S. Visited The Capitol Today To Help Dems Unveil “A Better Deal” For Workers

Labor leaders and worker advocates from across the country today joined U.S. Senate and House Democrats to unveil one of the critical tenets of their economic agenda, “A Better Deal.” Specifically, the Democrats detailed their plan to offer a better deal for workers by proposing a ways to safeguard workers’ freedom to negotiate with employers, penalize companies that violate workers’ rights, protect unions and workers’ abilities to strike, and more.

The Senate and House Democrats stood alongside Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association (NEA), and Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to propose their plan.

Labor leaders agree: workers need greater protections and A Better Deal. The full proposal can be found here.

Read what labor leaders and worker advocates had to say about the plan below:

“Strengthening workers’ freedom to join together and negotiate for better wages, benefits, safety, and retirement security should be a priority, and we commend Chuck Schumer and other congressional leaders for putting this at the top of their agenda.” – Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

“With Republicans at every level of government working overtime to strip away the freedom of working people to negotiate for better wages and better jobs, working men and women need the Democratic Party's 'Better Deal.'  Only by joining together in unions can working people stand up to the CEOs and corporate lobbyists who are keeping wages stagnant, sending jobs overseas and weakening our communities.  We commend the Democratic Party leadership for fighting to restore workplace freedom and the ability of working people to stand together for their share of the economic pie.” – Chris Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America.

“My union provided me with the clearest path to the middle class as a woman, a Latina, a daughter of an immigrant and a grand-daughter of a sharecropper. For educators, a union also gives us the freedom to advocate for the resources and tools that we know our students need to be successful -- whether that's smaller class sizes or guaranteed recess.” – Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association (NEA).

“We must build an economy that works for all – not just those at the top. By strengthening the collective voice and negotiating rights of workers, the better deal proposal on collective bargaining begins to do just that. Our hope is that every member of Congress will support these more modern workplace policies because this is about more than unions, this is about helping their constituents and all hard-working men and women who have earned the right to a better life.” – Marc Perrone, President, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union.

“This is a which side are you on moment. While the GOP Congress is trying to give tax giveaways to the rich who already rigged the economy against working people we are proudly standing with the Democratic Leadership around a better deal for people like the cop who ran into danger in New York City, the teacher who is right now helping a kid graduate, or the home care worker caring for an elderly person. Working people need a better deal and that starts with collective bargaining and unrigging the laws so people have the freedom to negotiate for a better deal.” – Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

“This morning, congressional Democrats released a new plank of their ‘Better Deal’ economic agenda, this time focused on strengthening collective bargaining rights and ‘giving workers the freedom to negotiate a better deal.’ Collective bargaining is crucial to reducing inequality and ensuring that low- and middle-wage workers earn a fair return on their work. As productivity has risen over the last several decades, wages have remained flat for the majority of working people while skyrocketing for those at the top. It is heartening and timely that the Democratic caucus is focused on raising wages for American workers—recognizing that the decline in bargaining power for workers has contributed as a central factor to the lopsided economic outcomes in recent years. EPI has long recommended many of these policies in our research, as highlighted in our ‘Real Agenda for Working People.’ It’s time that Congress moves to strengthen workers’ rights to collective action, which are under attack on all fronts at the state level. We urge Congress to follow up these proposals with concrete legislative action.” – Thea M. Lee, Incoming President, Economic Policy Institute.

“Strong unions are more important than ever – to a thriving middle class, to shared prosperity, to an economy that works for everyone. I’m proud and pleased to be working with Senate Democrats toward those goals and defending the freedom of all working people to build power in numbers through a union.” – Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).