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Democrats blocked predicted midterm election “red wave” through leadership on worker rights

Election night returns show Democratic path to victory for future years will hinge increasingly on action for economic justice issues for the working class

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The success of Democrats in avoiding the sweeping GOP “red wave” predicted in the midterm elections reflects the leadership of Democrats on key worker rights issues, and Democratic candidates’ commitment to passing pro-worker legislation like the historic Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The results match with recent Worker Power Coalition polling which revealed that voters in battleground states, particularly young voters, want Congress to take more action to improve worker rights – a clear indication of the need for Democrats to continue taking actionable steps to advance protections for Americans in the workplace. 

As the country continues to experience the highest levels of union activism and enthusiasm in decades amidst high profile organizing campaigns at Starbucks, Amazon, and more, the path to victory for Democrats in Congress hinges on catching up to the energy their base has on these issues with concrete policy actions. Democratic candidates who ran on platforms centered around pro-worker policies won in competitive races across the country – including John Fetterman and Summer Lee in Pennsylvania, Maxwell Frost in Florida, Delia Ramirez in Illinois, and Greg Casar in Texas. Pro-worker ballot measures for minimum wage increases also won in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., and a worker rights measure in Illinois further underscored the power of labor as an issue for Democratic voter turnout. Michigan Democrats ran on a pro-worker agenda and won back control of the state legislature for the first time in nearly 40 years, paving the way to strengthen worker rights by repealing the state’s anti-union “right-to-work” law.

The American people understand that the economy in this country is rigged against them. If Democrats don’t embrace pro-worker economic fairness as a central plank of their battleground messaging and legislative agenda, they will face an even tougher electoral map in 2024.

Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Over the past few months, working people who have been organizing on the job to join unions mobilized in their communities alongside other union members to elect candidates who share our democratic values. These workers have shown the country that our labor laws are broken and that we must join together to reign in the power that corporations have over too many aspects of our lives. The Biden Administration is focused on rebuilding the middle class by removing barriers to union membership. Now, Congressional Democrats must take up that mantle and continue to rebuild the trust of middle class voters by passing popular, pro-worker policies like those in the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.” 

Jimmy Williams, IUPAT General President; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Throughout this year, workers are organizing at historic levels to fight for a seat at the table – not only in the halls of Congress, but also in the bosses’ office. With giant corporations spending millions to stop workers from exercising their right to form a union and radical politicians attacking the very foundations of our democracy, now is the time for Democrats to continue to deliver on their promises to level the playing field. Working people are on the move, and if Democrats want to cement their identity as the party of the working class, now is the time to prove it.”

Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement Executive Director; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “We know that a green just economy is the only future our world survives in, and that an intersectional, sustainable economic platform is one that serves the poor, the working class, the underprivileged. Democratic candidates who won on Tuesday ran on a platform that puts climate and economic justice first. With control of Congress on the line, Democrats must fully embrace the Green New Deal to power our fight against climate change by strengthening worker rights and creating the green union jobs our economy and communities need.”

Nelini Stamp, Working Families Party Director of Strategy; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Americans know that the economy in this country is rigged against them, and that is why Democrats who ran on a pro-worker agenda won in so many battleground races on Tuesday. But with many races still too close to call, it is clear that much more must be done by Democrats to demonstrate their commitment to the millions of American workers who made their voices heard in this election. If Democrats do not embrace pro-worker economic fairness as a central plank of their legislative agenda in Congress, you can bet they will face an even tougher election map in 2024.”

Sydney Ghazarian, Democratic Socialists of America, National Political Committee Member; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Labor union organizing is surging across the country, and worker unions are currently more popular than they have been in  50 years. Any party seeking to win an election right now must center a clear, concise vision of change that will transfer power out of the hands of corporate oligarchs and back into the hands of working people. No matter who controls Congress next year, voters will be watching to see which party steps up with an agenda that promises bold action to dismantle the decades of unjust laws rigging the economy against us.”

Leah Greenberg, Indivisible Co-Executive Director; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “People know that big corporations are rigging the rules of the economy to squeeze more and more out of them, and they want political leaders who will forcefully stand on their side. With control of Congress hanging by a thread as final votes are counted, it is clear that for Democrats to build a majority-winning coalition, they must continue to embrace an economic policy platform that centers the hardships working people experience – and champion legislation like the PRO Act to finally unrig our system. ”

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The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively. Learn more at PassThePROAct.Org.

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BREAKING: New NLRB Report Showing 53% Spike In Union Drives Coupled With Troubling 23% Surge In Union Busting Complaints Requires Immediate Action From Congress

Coalition of labor unions representing 24 million workers, environmental groups, and progressive advocacy organizations say new trends demonstrate need for Congress boost of NLRB funding to protect workers, structural changes to dangerously outdated federal labor laws 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Worker Power Coalition, a national table representing 24 million workers and dozens of progressive, labor, and environmental advocacy organizations, says the new revelations contained in yesterday’s NLRB report demonstrate an urgent need for Congress to immediately boost fundings for the agency mandated to protect workers rights – and for Senate passage of the landmark bipartisan labor reform legislation, the PRO Act. 

The new NLRB report reveals that in 2022, workers filed 2,510 union representation petitions – a 53% spike from the 1,638 petitions filed by workers in 2021 and the highest number since 2016. The report also sheds fresh insight into the scale of corporate employers attacks in response to those filings,  with Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) charges also skyrocketing this year to almost 18,000 submitted by workers – a nearly 20% surge compared to 2021. Combined, the NLRB said its caseload jumped 23 percent in 2022 and was the largest single-year increase since the 1976 fiscal year. 

Illegal union-busting tactics being used by employers like Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and Activision Blizzard continue to dominate national headlines as more and more workers try to organize for their rights, yet the NLRB lacks the funding resource to investigate widespread harassment, retaliation, and termination of workers exerting their protected right to concerted union activity. The new NLRB numbers underscore the consequences of their funding crisis precipitating across the country – and why America’s labor movement is demanding that Congress immediately act to increase funding for the NLRB so it has what it needs to carry out its mandate to protect workers’ rights. 


Worker Power Coalition National Co-Chair Sara Steffens: “Workers at companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and Activision Blizzard are forming unions and leading a national wave of activism to demand better pay and job safety, but they are facing illegal retaliation and CEOs are spending millions on private union-busting firms to try to stop them. This report proves that this surge in worker organizing is the largest in more than 50 years. The NLRB’s mandate is to protect workers’ rights and encourage collective bargaining, but Congress has refused to increase funding for the agency for nearly a decade, even as multi-billion dollar companies wage ruthless union-busting campaigns to silence their workers. Enough is enough. It’s time for the Senate to wake up to this broken system and increase funding for the NLRB so that these CEOs are held accountable.”

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The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively. Learn more at PassThePROAct.Org.

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Senate under pressure as labor unions, environmental justice groups double down in push for PRO Act passage

As legislative calendar winds down, coalition representing 24 million workers and dozens of progressive organizations turns up pressure in demands for a Senate vote on the marquee labor legislation

New 2022 poll shows 87% of young voters in battleground states more likely to back pro-worker candidates in midterm election 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pressure is on for the U.S. Senate, as a national coalition of labor, environmental justice, and progressive organizations representing 24 million workers turns up the heat on their demand for a vote on the landmark labor reform legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As potentially illegal harassment, retaliation, and union-busting by Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple continues to make headlines, advocates say that millions of workers across the country can’t afford to keep waiting for the Senate to take action.

Over the past seven weeks, the Worker Power Coalition – a diverse coalition made up of dozens of powerhouse progressive organizations including environmental justice groups, think tanks, grassroots organizations, and major labor unions – has mobilized members across the country with rolling in-district direct actions in the top 2022 battleground swing states.

In a new Worker Power Coalition 2022 poll, 87% of young voters under 40 say that a top issue motivating them to vote is support for workers’ rights – further underscoring the strong public support for a Senate vote on the PRO Act. In fact, the new data shows that this voting bloc is fueling the ongoing surge of Democratic over-performance in this fall’s most hotly-contested Senate races. 

Worker Power Coalition delegations met with Senate Democrats in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia, and held actions pressing Senate Republicans in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida to back the bill. The multi-state mobilization campaign has been the largest organizing effort of WPC to date, and demonstrates the growing momentum and consensus amongst the left for a vote this congress on the urgently needed legislation. 

In a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democratic leadership, more than 50 progressive organizations represented in the Worker Power Coalition joined together to call on leaders to take action and hold a vote on the popular legislation. As the 2022 legislative clock ticks down, the window for a vote in this congress on the bipartisan bill, which already passed the House of Representatives, could be the best chance in generations to meaningfully reform America’s broken federal labor laws.

Sunrise Movement Executive Director Varshini Prakash: “The PRO Act is a core pillar of the Green New Deal. We can’t fairly mobilize our economy to stop the climate crisis without passing comprehensive labor law reform and guaranteeing every worker the right to organize. Schumer must use his power to bring this popular piece of legislation to the floor and demonstrate his commitment to workers all across the country.” 

Indivisible Project Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Leah Greenberg: “In the face of right-wing extremism seeking to undermine our democracy, it gives me hope that people across the country are fighting back – including workers standing up against big corporations, exercising democracy in the workplace. People are desperate for Democratic Senators to stand side-by-side with them in this struggle and take action. Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would level the playing field for these workers, and show people which side the Senate Democrats are on.”

Communications Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens: “We must do everything possible to support the growing number of workers who are joining together to improve their workplaces. Our labor laws are outdated and broken. Employers flagrantly violate workers’ rights, hold mandatory anti-union meetings, and intimidate and even fire workers for organizing. Workers need for the Senate to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act now so they can organize for safer jobs, better working conditions, and higher pay.”

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the need for workers to have a voice on their safety and working conditions. Now, inflation is causing economic hardship for working people around the nation. The time is now for Congress to enact common sense reforms to our labor laws and give workers a real voice at their jobs. The PRO Act is the best chance in decades to shift power away from corporate interests and to everyday Americans who work to provide for their families.

The PRO Act passed the House in March 2021 with bipartisan support and would protect workers’ rights to a free and fair election on forming a union and holding employers accountable for increasingly widespread interference, intimidation, and retaliation.

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The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively.

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NEW 2022 POLL: Young voters now rank worker rights as top election issue most likely to motivate them to vote in battleground states, as popular PRO ACT momentum soars

87% of young voters in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin more likely to back pro-worker candidates

New poll shows Democratic support for workers’ rights is a key component in midterm over-performance; more action could expand electorate with younger voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a new Senate battleground states poll released today, 87% of young voters under 40 say that a top issue motivating them to vote is support for workers’ rights – and the new data shows that this voting bloc is fueling the ongoing surge of Democratic over-performance in this fall’s most hotly-contested Senate races.

A new poll by Hart Research found that Democratic candidates have an overall lead in Senate battleground races, but their advantage is provided entirely by a 28-point lead amongst young voters. The poll was commissioned by the Worker Power Coalition and the Communications Workers of America. The Worker Power Coalition is the largest U.S. labor-progressive alliance in the country, representing 24 million workers. 

With worker rights emerging as one of the most energizing 2022 issues activating young voters – a key demographic whose turnout traditionally has faltered during non-Presidential election cycles – labor rights are a critical piece of a Democratic path to victory in November.

Young voter turnout was key to Democratic victories in the 2018 and 2020 elections, but this age group is less likely than voters over 40 to participate this year. Senate Democratic candidates are mounting surprisingly strong challenges in GOP-held seats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida and leading with razor-thin margins in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. Polling results indicate that candidates could drive up the youth vote further by embracing the landmark labor legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and focusing on lifting workers’ wages.

“As Democrats face a highly competitive 2022 election map for the Senate and House, this poll demonstrates that candidates can mobilize young voters by helping to lift workers’ wages and protect their rights,” said Guy Molyneux, Hart Research partner and senior pollster. “Young voter support for the PRO Act labor reform bill is off the charts at 85%. Even among Trump 2020 voters  and conservative voters, support for labor reform is significant. With battleground Senate races a toss-up among voters over 40, this poll should be encouraging for Democrats that energizing young voters by leading on worker rights would be a game-changer this November.”

The poll found that 87% of voters under 40 ranked worker rights as one of the top issues that will motivate them to vote for Democrats in November, alongside other popular galvanizing issues such as abortion rights, climate change, and student debt.

The polling comes as Starbucks and Amazon union campaigns have sparked a national wave of worker activism and put a spotlight on the high consequences of illegal union-busting by multi-billion dollar corporations, illustrating how Democratic engagement on the issue could be the key to their party retaining or expanding control of the Senate.

“There’s a clear message in this poll,” said Jimmy Williams, General President of IUPAT. “Young workers want the protections they’d get from the PRO Act. If we want to drive young voter turnout in November, Congress needs to show action on legislation important to young voters.” 

The poll, conducted by Hart Research, surveyed 1,502 likely voters – including 822 young voters aged 18-39 – in the 2022 battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The survey has a credibility interval (which is similar to a margin of error) of +/-3.0% for all voters, and +/-3.5% for young voters.

The survey shows that support for the PRO Act cuts across party lines even in the tightest toss-up races in the country – a sign that a fall vote on the popular legislation could provide much-needed headwinds for vulnerable Democrats in swing states and districts. 

Young workers are driving a trend of historically high support for unions, with Gallup recently reporting 71% of Americans support labor unions, the highest level in nearly 60 years

“Now more than ever, young workers see unions as their best shot at higher wages and better working conditions, but until we pass the Protecting the Right To Organize Act, they are up against employers who are retaliating with impunity,” said Communications Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “If young workers are going to turn out and vote for Democrats, they need evidence beyond just words of support that candidates are on their side. A Senate vote to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act will prove that Democrats mean what they say when it comes to workers rights.” 

Background

Today’s new Worker Power Coalition 2022 battleground states poll highlights a wide range of key findings on young voters less than two months before the midterm election: 

Democrats hold narrow lead across 2022 battleground states, but voters under 40 are key to their lead

  • Across the surveyed states, Democratic candidates lead 48%-42% in Senate races
  • The Democratic lead is fueled by a 28-point lead among voters under 40; GOP candidates hold a narrow 3-point edge among voters over 40 
  • Despite the Democratic lead, there is a 9-point Republican advantage among Party ID
  • 89% of young voters say they are likely to vote in the 2022 midterm election

Worker rights are an issue key to galvanizing turnout from voters under 40 in 2022 

  • 87% of young voters say they are more likely to support a Congressional candidate who supports strong legal protections for workers’ rights 
  • 77% of young voters prefer a pro-union candidate over an anti-union candidate

Young voter turnout could be shored up more by action from Senate on the PRO Act labor reform legislation in Congress

  • 69% of voters across all age groups support the PRO Act labor reform bill
  • 85% of young voters support the PRO Act, which would: 
    • protect workers’ right to speak out about low wages, unsafe conditions, or other problems in the workplace, without intimidation or retaliation from their employer. It would also strengthen workers’ ability to form a union in their workplace to negotiate for better pay and benefits, safety protections, schedules, and other conditions
  • 64% of young voters say if a Democrat supports the PRO Act, they are more likely to vote for them over a Republican who opposes the PRO Act
  • After hearing about Democrats who support the PRO Act:
    • Young voter trust in Democrats’ on worker rights surged to 63%, up from 54%
    • Young voter trust in Democrats’ on ensuring wages and salaries keep up with the cost of living surged to 57%, up from 49% 

Young Voters on Unions and Worker Rights

  • 82% of young voters support workers negotiating as a group with their employer over pay, benefits, and working conditions 
  • 80% of young voters approve of labor unions
  • 78% of young voters are more likely to support a Democrat who wants to strengthen protections for workers who speak out about low wages, unsafe conditions, or other concerns on the job from retaliation by their employer
  • 71% of young voters are more likely to support a Democrat who wants to increase penalties on companies that illegally fire employees for union activity
  • 70% of young voters support the 2022 surge in workers unionizing 
  • 68% of young voters would strongly support a Democrat who says workers should not be punished for coming together to speak up for their rights
  • 65% of young voters are more likely to support a Democrat who wants to end tax breaks that companies receive for expenses related to union-busting

Republicans Lose Youth Vote on Worker Rights

  • 62% of young voters are less likely to support a Republican who wants to allow employers to retaliate against workers who speak out about low wages, unsafe conditions, or other concerns on the job
  • 62% of young voters are less likely to support a Republican who opposes protections for workers who speak out about low wages, unsafe conditions, or other concerns on the job from retaliation by their employer

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The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively. Learn more at PassThePROAct.Org.

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New Uber and Lyft gig worker bill in Congress blasted by America’s largest labor and progressive advocacy coalition

Advocates representing 24 million workers nationwide slam legislation just introduced that would permanently misclassify millions of app based workers: “Dangerous and designed to deny fair pay and protections”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, America’s largest labor and progressive coalition representing 24 million workers slammed new federal legislation just introduced and backed by Uber and Lyft. The coalition warned the so-called “Worker Flexibility and Choice Act” is an anti-worker proposal intended to further endanger already vulnerable gig economy workers, calling it an attempt by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D TX-28) and multibillion dollar corporations to bring Silicon Valley’s union-busting playbook to the federal stage.

The Worker Power Coalition, which represents 40 labor and social justice organizations including app-based worker advocacy group Rideshare Drivers United, warns the proposal would permanently codify the misclassification of workers across the gig industry – a move intended to ensure rideshare drivers and delivery workers are denied basic labor protections like health insurance and sick time while continuing to receive poverty pay on the front lines of the pandemic. 

“Uber and Lyft poured $200 million into Prop 22 in California to take away our rights to unemployment benefits, workplace safety and sick time. All during a global pandemic. Now they’re trying to do it federally,” said Nicole Moore, a part-time Lyft driver and the President of Rideshare Drivers United. “Legalizing the misclassification of app-based workers would deny hundreds of thousands of workers essential workplace protections, and amount to billions of dollars in corporate handouts to a multi-billion dollar industry.”

Although Uber and Lyft have claimed the bill is bipartisan, the only Democrat backing it is Rep. Henry Cuellar, the only Democrat in the House to vote against the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and an infamously anti-worker lawmaker who was nearly thrown out of office after being forced into primary run-off.

“The latest attack on working people by Rep. Cuellar is proof positive that elections matter,” says International Union of Painters and Allied Trades President Jimmy Williams. “Rep. Cuellar voted against the PRO Act, which would fix worker misclassification, to side with billionaire executives in Silicon Valley over his constituents. Uber and Lyft are spending hundreds of millions of dollars at the state and national levels to try to ensure they don’t have to play by the same rules as every other employer. The House has acted: now, the time has never been more urgent for the Senate to hold a vote for the passage of the PRO Act.”

The PRO Act would hold mega corporations like Uber and Lyft accountable for illegally retaliating against workers speaking out about their workplace issues, and allow them to be classified as full employees and to unionize for better pay and job safety. For national labor unions, the PRO Act has emerged as a key litmus test for the 2022 midterms amid rampant union-busting by Starbucks and Amazon, which has highlighted America’s broken labor laws. The bipartisan PRO Act eliminates worker misclassification widespread in the gig economy and ensures protections for freelancers.

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The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively.