Now in her fifth term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is using her new perch as the chairwoman of the U.S. House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee under the umbrella of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor to go to bat for unions.
This week, Wilson had her subcommittee hold a hearing “Protecting Workers’ Right to Organize: The Need for Labor Law Reform.”
“The forum’s goal is to identify economic and other effects of union membership decline and legislative measures to strengthen the National Labor Relations Act,” Wilson’s office noted.
“Unions are engines of economic mobility that played an essential role in building the nation’s middle class,” the congresswoman’s office insisted. “In the past 40-plus years, however, union membership has decreased by 50 percent and workers are paying the price with stagnant wages and fewer workplace protections.”
Wilson went to bat for unions in her opening statement.
“We will explore the strengths and weaknesses in the current state of labor law and identify proposals that hold employers that violate the law accountable, protect collective action, and modernize labor laws for a changing economy,” Wilson said. “If Congress is truly on the side of American workers, we must protect their right to bargain for better wages and better working conditions.
“Union membership unquestionably has its privileges. Through collective bargaining, workers can negotiate fair wages, benefits, and workplace protections. Unions also help prevent discrimination based on race, gender or sexual identity. It is important to also note that unions advocate well beyond their membership to ensure that all workers can achieve economic mobility,” she added.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.