About the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act
What would the bill do?
It would set a minimum nationwide standard of collective bargaining rights that states must provide, including allowing public service workers to join together and have a voice on the job to improve both working conditions and the communities in which they live and work. The bill gives public service workers the freedom to:
- Join together in a union selected by a majority of employees;
- Collectively bargain over wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment;
- Resolve disputes with their employers through an unbiased process;
- Use voluntary payroll deduction for union dues;
- Engage in concerted activities related to collective bargaining and mutual aid;
- Have their union be free from requirements to hold rigged recertification elections; and
- File suit in court to enforce their labor rights.
How does the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act help workers?
This legislation gives public service workers the freedom to join together in a union to win respect and fair treatment on the job. By standing together, union members earn higher wages and are more likely to have employer-provided health care, pensions and benefits such as paid sick and family leave. Unions also help to secure safety standards, protections and the necessary resources for members to do their jobs well and to meet the needs of the communities they care about.
Why is the bill needed?
For years, anti-worker politicians and their corporate donors have rigged the system, undermining the freedom of working people to join strong unions. That’s because they know that unions give workers the power in numbers they need to balance the scales. It’s time to level the playing field by establishing federal protections to guarantee public service workers the right to join together and collectively bargain.
When public service workers have the freedom to negotiate, they can get the compensation they deserve and the resources they need to do their job and support their communities.
How do unions help women and people of color?
A majority of public service workers are women; one-third of public service workers are African American, Latino or Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Their union membership provides them with higher wages and results in their being more likely to have employer-provided health care, pensions and benefits such as paid sick and family leave than their nonunion counterparts. Unions, through collective bargaining agreements and representation, provide women and people of color with protections and support to effectively confront and address discrimination.
- African American union members earn 19% more – and Latino union workers 28% more – than their nonunion counterparts.
- Women represented by public service unions are paid 13% more - $6,000 more, on average, annually – than women in the public sector who are not represented by unions.
- African American women who are members of a union earn 18.8% more than their nonunion counterparts.
- Latinas who are members of a union earn 28.2% more than their nonunion counterparts.
- Women represented by unions are more likely to have access to job-protected paid family, medical and sick leave. Unionized workplaces are 22% more likely than nonunion workplaces to provide parental leave. Union workplaces are also 16% more likely to allow workers to take medical leave for their own illness and 19% more likely to allow workers to take leave for a family member’s illness.
Learn more about the differences unions make for working people. Use our fact sheet, and letters of support from labor, women’s and civil rights groups to talk to your neighbors and representatives. Or, you can write a letter to the editor on why Congress needs to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.
PSFNA Digital Toolkit
Share on social media why you support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.
Economic Policy Institute on H.R. 3463
EPI discusses how strengthening unions will empower working people.
Economic Policy Institute on the Cost of an Anti-Worker Agenda
In a case study comparing Wisconsin and Minnesota, EPI explores how workers and families do better in states that embrace pro-worker policies.
Center for American Progress: All Public Sector Workers Should Have the Right to Join a Union
All Americans should have the right to join a union and bargain collectively. CAP makes a case for those rights.
Public service workers deserve the freedom to join together in a union to collectively negotiate for fair pay and better working conditions. Tell your members of Congress to cosponsor the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.