Empower Workers

Rein in Corporate Greed


Empower Workers

Rural workers earn less, are less likely to have benefits like paid leave, and are more likely to be injured on the job. We need to build an economy that respects rural working people.

Policy Priorities

  1. Federal: Pass the PRO Act and Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, the most comprehensive worker empowerment legislation since the 1930s. The bills expand the definitions of unfair labor practices to include efforts that prevent collective organizing, whether by retaliation against an employee, contract agreements not to participate in collective or class action, or by coercion and intimidation. It further enshrines the right to collective organizing by permitting secondary strikes, broadening the scope of who fair labor standards apply to, expanding whistleblower protections, and other essential reforms for private and public workers.
  2. Federal: The Workforce Mobility Act prohibits using noncompete agreements in the context of commercial enterprises, except under certain circumstances.
  3. Federal: Create fair scheduling protections, including sick and family leave for all workers, by passing the Healthy Families Act, which would create a national standard for earned paid sick days; the FAMILY Act, which would create a national standard for paid family leave; Schedules That Work Act, which would protect workers’ rights to negotiate hours, location, and scheduling of their work; and the Part Time Workers Bill of Rights Act, which expands part-time workers’ opportunities for becoming full time and makes them eligible for family and sick leave.
  4. Federal: The Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act expands workplace safety and health requirements. It addresses dangerous workplace conditions and safety for meat and poultry processing facilities by hiring additional OSHA inspectors and expanding protections for workers who exercise their rights under occupational safety laws.
  5. State: Enact a minimum wage above the federal minimum wage.
  6. State: Protect workers from dangerous working conditions, including COVID-19, and weather such as heat and wildfire smoke, which will get worse in a warming climate.

State Examples

  • Georgia (2021 GA SB 24), Iowa (2021 IA HF 122), North Carolina (2021 NC HB 612), and Oregon (2021 OR HB 3551) have all considered legislation to raise the state minimum wage and establish annual cost-of-living updates to ensure that the minimum wage keeps up with the economy.
  • New York passed the NYS Health & Essential Rights Act (2021 NY 1034B) that created an Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) state standard for health and safety from COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases for employees in the state.