Convention Resolution | Labor Law

Resolution 9: Rewriting the Rules: Making the Freedom to Join Together and Negotiate a Reality for All Workers

Every day, millions of working people come together through their unions to strengthen their collective voice and bargain for better lives. Acting together, working people can win higher wages, better health care and retirement security, improved worker and public safety, paid time off to spend with family, and greater fairness on the job. 

Unfortunately, these freedoms are denied to too many workers because our laws are weak and employers exploit them to deny working people the freedom to join together and negotiate. As a result, our economy is weaker, income inequality is at historic levels and working people are not getting the pay raises they need to support their families.

All working people must have the freedom to bargain collectively with their employers, instead of that freedom being hostage to history, the cleverness of management lawyers, and the poisonous legal legacy of racism and sexism. We must rewrite the rules of our economy to guarantee all who work in America the freedom to bargain collectively with their employer, free from fear and intimidation.

We resolve that the AFL-CIO will undertake a process in 2018 with the objective of fundamentally reforming America’s labor laws. In an era of technological change and globalization, our laws must be rewritten to meaningfully guarantee all America’s workers the freedom to bargain collectively with their employers.

In the interim, Congress can and must take some simple, yet significant, steps toward making the freedom to collectively bargain real for all of America’s workers. We call upon elected officials, and candidates seeking elective office, to support and fight for changes to the National Labor Relations Act and other state and local laws that would:

  • Protect more workers’ right to organize;
  • Meaningfully penalize employers who violate the law;
  • Provide a process for ensuring an agreement with employers when workers first organize; and
  • Protect immigrant workers from exploitation and retaliation when they exercise their rights.

No candidate or elected official seeking working people’s support deserves that support if they do not endorse and fight for these fundamental reforms.