May 25, 2018

Kaine Cosponsors Wage Act To Strengthen Worker Protections

Legislation would protect workers’ freedom to negotiate and speak up, stop companies from retaliating against workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has co-sponsored the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act, a bill to strengthen workers’ rights to form or join a union, speak up together for better wages and conditions, and bargain collectively with their employers. The WAGE Act would protect all workers, regardless of whether they are part of a union or not, who wish to advocate for equal pay, safety improvements, or increased wages—and would crack down on corporations who try to interfere or retaliate against them.

“In order to expand economic opportunity, we must ensure that workers have a voice to advocate for the wages and conditions they deserve,” Kaine said. “I’m proud to co-sponsor the WAGE Act to help enable workers in Virginia and across the country to stand up for fair pay and protections at work.”

Specifically, the WAGE Act defends workers’ fundamental right to join together with their co-workers and advocate for change. The legislation does this by giving more protections and recourse to workers who are illegally fired and by preventing the misclassification of workers as supervisors or independent contractors, which strips them of their fundamental labor rights. It also creates tougher penalties for employers who interfere with workers’ collective bargaining rights. Further, the WAGE Act requires companies to post a notice to inform workers of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. As many workers never even reach an initial contract with their employer, the WAGE Act also guarantees workers’ freedom to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment by keeping companies at the bargaining table. 

Kaine is also a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would help hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices, end the practice of pay secrecy, ease workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees.

The WAGE Act is sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and in addition to Kaine, the bill is co-sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). 

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