Proposed Bill Would Increase Penalties for Firing Workers Who Organize

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Proposed Bill Would Increase Penalties for Firing Workers Who Organize(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

After LA truck driver Alex Paz tried to organize his fellow workers into a union, he was fired. And when DC food service workers Keyona Dandridge struck for higher wages she was fired. If the Employee Empowerment Act were law, Paz and Dandridge would not only be able to sue their bosses, but the threat of serious financial penalties “would make them think twice before firing workers for organizing,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who on Wednesday held a press conference on the bill with co-sponsors John Lewis (D-GA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and featuring workers, civil rights and labor leaders, including Metro Washington Council President Jos Williams. “Put teeth in a law that has become toothless and the entire economy will benefit as a result,” said Williams, speaking on behalf of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The AFL-CIO stands ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen.” Dandridge, a single mother who prepares and serves food in a federal facility in DC, choked up describing how she’s worked hard to support her young daughter and the hardships she’s endured fighting for worker rights. “That’s alright Keyona, we’ve got your back!” a voice called out to Dandridge as Ellison comforted her. The Employee Empowerment Act – which has some 15 co-sponsors -- would enhance the scope of the National Labor Relations Act by expanding protections for employees who are discriminated against based on their labor organizing activities. The Act allows employees to pursue civil litigation against employers who discriminate against them for organizing and entitles victims to remedies like punitive and compensatory damages.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock


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