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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Rubio Amendment Undercuts Collective Bargaining Rights Vote NO on the RAISE Act (Amdt. 1266)

Advocacy Letter - 06/19/12

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. Senate


Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of over 210 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to oppose the “Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act” (Amdt. 1266) (“RAISE Act”). The RAISE Act would unfairly give employers the right to disregard negotiated contractual agreements and to arbitrarily grant pay increases in any amount to selected employees.  This could easily result in discrimination against certain employees, including older workers and employees of color, and expand the wage disparity between men and women in the workplace.

The RAISE Act is a veiled attempt at undercutting or limiting collective bargaining rights. The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to allow an employer to pay an employee greater wages or compensation regardless of whether these decisions have already been agreed to by both the employer and employees in a collective bargaining agreement.  This bill would thus undermine our system of privately bargained, legally binding agreements and instead, permit companies to violate contracts with workers and ignore previously agreed upon wages and benefits.

The Leadership Conference cares deeply about this issue because the right to form a union has facilitated, since the passage of the NLRA, significant advances in workers’ rights. The right of workers to organize and bargain with management has led to many benefits in many workplaces, such as higher pay, insurance, and sick leave. These benefits in turn have meant greater participation in the workplace and increased opportunity for all workers, especially women and minorities. Higher standards for workers have helped to build the middle class and make sure the economy works for everyone. Workers have a fairer workplace when they have a collective bargaining agreement that is respected and can be enforced.

The RAISE Act would destroy the gains of decades of collective bargaining, which have significantly reduced racial and gender inequality in wages and benefits. Union membership has had clear economic benefits for people of color and has boosted working women’s earning potential.  African-American union members make 35 percent more than their non-union counterparts and are also more likely to have health and retirement benefits.[i] Latino union members make 51 percent more than nonunion Latino workers, and are more likely to have health and retirement benefits.[ii] Women in unions earn 33 percent more than non-union women, and are also more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and pensions.[iii]

We urge you to support economic security for working families by opposing the RAISE Act (Amdt. 1266) when it comes to the floor. Please contact Lexer Quamie, Counsel at (202) 466-3648, or Nancy Zirkin at (202) 263-2880, if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President



[i] John Schmitt, Unions and Upward Mobility African-American Workers, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Apr. 2008 at http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/unions_2008_04.pdf

[ii] John Schmitt, Unions and Upward Mobility for Latino Workers, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Sept. 2008 at http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/latino_union_2008_09.pdf

[iii] John Schmitt, Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dec. 2008 at http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/unions_and_upward_mobility_for_women_workers_2008_12.pdf

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