Sen. Sherrod Brown Advocates for Worker Protection Landmark Legislation
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hosted a news conference call to discuss landmark legislation he introduced this fall to protect workers as corporations increasingly classify them as independent contractors and use sub-contractors, temporary (temp) agencies, and corporate franchises to avoid labor laws.
Brown’s legislation, the Worker Flexibility and Small Business Protection Act, would help workers at app-based businesses like Uber and Instacart, as well as Amazon delivery workers, home health aides, workers classified as “temps” at plants like GM, and more.
This legislation comes at a particularly critical time for labor and workers’ rights, Brown stated in a previous release.
“Hard work doesn’t pay off like it should—wages and benefits have declined or stagnated for decades while corporate profits soar because employers increasingly use independent contractor status, temp staffing agencies, franchises, and subcontracting to increase profits and shed responsibility to their workers. These anti-worker policies disproportionately affect Black and brown workers—especially women—and are part of the legacy of systemic discrimination that has exacerbated the racial wealth gap in this country. This legislation will end that race-to-the-bottom business model, protect workers’ rights, and hold employers accountable,” said Brown.
Brown was joined on the call by Sarah Ingles, local labor attorney based in Columbus and Board President of the Central Ohio Workers Center.
“When a worker suffers from wage theft, it ravages their life. Suddenly, paying bills on time, affording medical care and basic necessities, and sustaining a basic and modest lifestyle seems impossible. Moreover, it strips workers of the dignity of their work, and it’s plain unfair and morally wrong. Misclassification of workers is just one form of wage theft, but it is a form that is pervasive not only in Ohio, but across the country. If we want an economy that works for all people, we must create and implement policies that include all people and that protect them from exploitation and unfair employment practices,” said Ingles.
For decades, according to Brown and a report by the Economic Policy Institute, corporations have misused these legal arrangements to avoid having a legally recognized employment relationship with their workers to skirt labor laws that protect workers’ rights.
Brown’s bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in the House.
Brown’s bill would also help protect small businesses, which would no longer be forced to compete with huge corporations that violate workers’ rights to undercut them for business.
Just last week, the administration released a rule to make it more difficult for gig workers and contract workers to become employees.
Specifically, this bill:
- Strengthens the definition of “employee”;
- Creates the right to flexibility at work. The bill gives workers who are currently treated by their employers as independent contractors the right to maintain their scheduling flexibility and gives all employees greater scheduling flexibility;
- Ensures corporations are held accountable when they misclassify workers as independent contractors and deny them rights;
- Protects “temp” workers;
- Protects small businesses by making big businesses jointly responsible for worker protections. The bill also puts CEOs and top shareholders on the hook for workers’ right violations and requires large employers to create plans to address workers’ rights violations throughout their supply chains;
- Expands public transparency. The bill will require companies to post notices of their compliance with labor laws so that consumers can choose to support good businesses over ones that violate workers’ rights; and
- Establishes broad and increasing worker protections that will end the continuing erosion of workers’ rights.
In The News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year's coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000,... Read More
WASHINGTON — A new, groundbreaking study suggests not only is there strong bipartisan support for corporate efforts to address environmental,... Read More
WASHINGTON — A new, groundbreaking study suggests not only is there strong bipartisan support for corporate efforts to address environmental, social and governance challenges, but that the bipartisan appeal of these initiatives dramatically increases among Americans under the age of 45. The study, “Unlocking the Bipartisan... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday suspended enforcement of a vaccine mandate on private companies with 100 or more... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday suspended enforcement of a vaccine mandate on private companies with 100 or more employees. The decision, which was carried out through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes less than a week after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of... Read More
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently partnered with Health Canada and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products... Read More
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently partnered with Health Canada and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to issue guiding principles to align efforts and standards for artificial intelligence and machine learning medical device development in health care. “The FDA believes... Read More
WASHINGTON — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will preside over all litigation stemming from the Biden administration’s decision... Read More
WASHINGTON — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will preside over all litigation stemming from the Biden administration’s decision to require companies with at least 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced Tuesday. The conservative-leaning... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sexual assault victims told a congressional panel Tuesday that arbitration clauses required by many employers in employment contracts... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sexual assault victims told a congressional panel Tuesday that arbitration clauses required by many employers in employment contracts create an incentive for more workers to be victimized. The victims prefer that sexual harassment and assault claims be adjudicated in courts to ensure misdeeds of... Read More