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Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions

Sanders unveils plan to bolster labor unions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Live coverage: Gillum clashes with DeSantis in Florida debate Miami Herald endorses Gillum for governor 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 GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBig Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches Sanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Sanders: Trump setting 'terrible example' for our children MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBig Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches DNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis MORE (Mass.). 

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