Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions

Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHeckler yells ‘Mr. President, f--- you’ as Trump arrives at Capitol Veteran New York Dems face upstart challengers Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (I-Vt.) unveiled new legislation on Wednesday aimed at increasing the power of labor unions and lifting stagnant wages nationwide. 

The bill, titled The Workplace Democracy Act, would expedite the formation process for unions, allowing workers to sign up to be represented rather than being elected into membership and expedite timelines for negotiation between unions and companies, according to The Washington Post. 

Sanders acknowledged that the bill would likely not pass on its own, since Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress. But Sanders said it could spotlight the issue of stalled wage growth, even with jobless claims at their lowest point since 1973.

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“It’s not a question of just jobs — it’s a question of what those jobs pay. Many of the occupations that are growing in this country do not pay workers a living wage," Sanders told the Post. 

Sanders also suggested the bill or another measure could be a rallying point for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Union voters are a key demographic Democrats are trying to win back to the party.

“You show your base that you’re serious about this, and unions are still an important part of Democrats’ base," he said. 

Despite the likely vehement opposition in the Republican majority Congress, Sanders's bill was co-sponsored by more than a dozen Democrats, including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandActress Marcia Gay Harden urges Congress to boost Alzheimer's funding Gillibrand on Trump family separation policy: ‘It is an evil, dark thing’ Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDem lawmaker calls on Nielsen to resign over ‘volume of lies’ about family separations Tucker Carlson: Ruling class cares more about foreigners than their own people The Memo: Child separation crisis risks ‘Katrina moment’ for Trump MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren on family separation policy: Trump is ‘taking America to a dark and ugly place’ Overnight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Markets roiled by Trump's new tariff threat | Trump lashes out at Canada over trade | Warren looks to block Trump pick for consumer agency MORE (Mass.). 

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders pushed for a nationwide minimum wage increase.