New bill in Congress would restore workers’ rights
A new bill in Congress would increase workers' rights on the job. | AP

If a worker is seeking justice because they have not been paid fairly, have been discriminated against, or have been sexually harassed, they are often forced into a process that overwhelmingly favors the employer―and they’re forced to manage this process alone.

Mandatory arbitration clauses and class action waivers are part of a long and growing list of tactics used by employers to keep workers’ bargaining power weak and their wages down. EPI research shows that between 1992 and today, the share of employees subject to forced arbitration has increased from just 2 percent to 56 percent! That means that more than half of U.S. workers would not be able to pursue a claim in court if their legal rights are violated by their employer.

This fall, Democrats in Congress introduced the Restoring Justice for Workers Act―a crucial step toward shifting the balance of power back to working people. And the bill already has 57 cosponsors in the House and nine in the Senate. But this bill has yet to get a vote in Congress.

With a new Congress getting ready to be sworn-in in just one month, let’s tell the next Congress to make protecting workers’ rights and ending corporate abuse a top priority in 2019.

Click here to sign the petition to the 116th Congress calling on them to immediately introduce and pass the Restoring Justice for Workers Act in 2019.

When workers are forced to handle workplace disputes as individuals through arbitration, rather than being able to resolve these matters together in court, it is difficult if not impossible for workers to enforce their rights.

This new bill―if passed―would ban mandatory arbitration and class and collective action waivers. The bill reads:

“Millions of employees are currently forced to accept, as a condition of employment, contractual provisions that block their access to the courts or prohibit them from joining with other employees to seek collective relief for violations of their rights. This has led to widespread nonenforcement of employees’ rights and has permitted significant violations of those rights to continue unabated.”

At a time of eroding protections for working people, the EPI Policy Center is fighting for the right to a safe workplace free of harassment or discrimination.

Stand with us and call on the next Congress to immediately introduce and pass the Restoring Justice for Workers Act in 2019 to protect workers’ rights and ensure a more fair process for resolving workplace disputes and discrimination. 

Heidi Shierholz is Senior Economist and Director of Policy at EPI Policy Center


CONTRIBUTOR

Heidi Shierholz
Heidi Shierholz

Heidi Shierholz is director of policy for the Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor think tank based in Washington D.C.

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