Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions

Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary amid late domestic violence allegations Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Speaker Ryan's seat 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 GillibrandDemocrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America Border patrol chief: Calls to abolish ICE impact the morale of my team Kamala Harris tied with Bernie Sanders as betting favorite for 2020 Dems MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisFormer Teacher of the Year wins Connecticut primary Democrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCanadian corporate tax cuts show success of strong economic policy Avenatti on 2020 campaign: 'The truth is my policy issue' Democrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America MORE (Mass.). 

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