The “Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act”
On June 13, 2018, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the deceptively named Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act (WFNA) (S. 3064 and H.R. 6080, 115th Congress). This radical legislation included provisions that would:
- allow the Board to strip away workers’ free choice in union elections as well as their privacy rights;
- codify into law the NLRB’s controversial Browning-Ferris Industriesjoint-employer standard that has threatened our country’s small and local businesses;
- curb opportunities for people to work independently through gig economy platforms or more traditional independent contractor roles;
- eliminate Right-to-Work protections for workers across the country, including in the twenty-eight states that have passed Right-to-Work laws;
- interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it harder for businesses, particularly small businesses, to secure legal advice on complex labor law matters;
- prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts;
- infringe on the due process rights of employers;
- strip away “secondary boycott” protections that prevent unions from using their anti-trust exemptions and immunity from certain state laws to target businesses for anti-competitive purposes other than organizing; and
- blacklist federal contractors and subcontractors from procurement opportunities over allegations that the company violated federal or state labor law with no proof of actual wrongdoing.
With this legislation the sponsors were attempting to implement Obama-era labor law policies that were rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them. All of these entities realized the policies violated the law, exceeded the authority granted to the implementing agencies, or would cause serious damage to the American workplace.
CDW launched an extensive campaign in order to educate both lawmakers and the public about the detrimental consequences of this legislation. We are watching carefully to see if the bill is reintroduced in the 116th Congress.
Comparison of Big Labor’s Legislative Wishlist