Senator’s Plan to Make Hard Work Pay Off for Ohioans Notes Declining Union Membership Has Fueled Declining Value of Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced legislation to prevent states from introducing so-called “right-to-work” laws that make it harder for workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions. In March, Brown unveiled a plan to make hard work pay off for Ohioans. Brown’s plan notes that a decline in union membership has led to a decline in the value of work. Brown’s plan proposes expanding collective bargaining rights and making sure rights to unionize and bargain are protected and enforced.

“So-called right-to-work laws give corporations the ability to trample workers’ rights and dismantle unions. I refuse to let that happen,” said Brown. “At a time when Americans are working harder and earning less for the time they put in, we should be making it easier for workers to raise their voices and bargain for better wages and safer working conditions. Right to work is really right to work for less.”  

The bill, Protecting Workers and Improving Standards Act, would repeal the section of current law that gives states the ability to ban union security agreements and pass legislation that eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from those who benefit from union contracts. The result encourages a race to the bottom, as states compete to attract employers by offering weak labor laws and, as a result lower wages.

Brown and his office have been working on this plan since the fall of 2015. As part of his plan to restore the value of work, Brown also introduced legislation to provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules, expand two anti-poverty tax credits that help put money back in the pockets of working Ohioans and families, and provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave.