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|JANUARY 14, 2020|
Federal Employees Get Three Months of Parental Leave
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included language from Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney’s Federal Employee Paid Leave Act to give 2.1 million federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. This is a huge step in the right direction! The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act sets the precedent for future legislation that could apply to private and public sector jobs.
Even though the bill is a victory for working people, it is still not perfect. The bill fails to cover paid family leave for medical reasons and non-government employees. Congresswoman Maloney continues to fight to make this issue a top priority because it is crucial that all Americans be afforded comprehensive paid family leave and medical leave.
CALLS TO ACTION
Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act
For years, the workplace rights of nurses, teachers, firefighters, public safety officers, and other
workers performing services to benefit the public have been under attack. Numerous states have passed free rider so-called “right-to-work” laws that force unions to advocate on behalf of public sector workers who haven’t paid their fair share for those services.
Attacks on public service workers’ collective bargaining rights not only hurts workers but harms the quality of public services that state and local governments provide. Many public employee unions bargain for provisions such as lowering class sizes or ensuring that hospitals have enough nurses to safely treat all patients. Denying workers the right to collectively bargain makes it more likely that low-quality services will continue.
The bipartisan Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (H.R. 3463/S. 1970) would fix this problem by:
• Setting a minimum nationwide standard for collective bargaining rights that all states must provide to public service workers. These rights include recognizing labor unions freely chosen by a majority of workers, as well as to bargain over wages, hours, and other conditions of employment.
• Establishing strong enforcement for violating workers’ rights established by the bill.
• Allowing pro-worker states to set even better standards for workers by providing states the flexibility to set their own laws, as long as they exceed the minimum standards established by the bill.
Sandra Kennedy Commissioner of Public Utility (Arizona)
Sandra Kennedy serves on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates investor-owned or privately-owned utilities that provide gas, water, electricity or telephone service.
During her time as a commissioner, she has been a fierce consumer advocate by demanding transparency and accountability from the utilities she helps regulate. One of those utilities is CenturyLink. She has recently opened investigations into CenturyLink’s failure to provide safe, adequate and reliable service. Technicians can attest to the lack of maintenance of their facilities, which is very dangerous, and call center workers hear from customers calling in with complaints about their subpar service.
The trend towards cost-cutting at the expense of both the customers and employees is something Kennedy has been fighting against. She has been trying to establish a service quality standard for Centurylink that would not only protect the interest of consumers but also serves to protect workers doing their best to provide quality service. Kennedy has also called into question CenturyLink’s federal tax rate decrease from 35% to 21% and why they are unwilling to pass on any of the tax benefits to its workers or customers.
A DEEP DIVE
How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration [Article]
Major Union Launches Campaign To Organize Video Game And Tech Workers [Article]
Family Leave Law Does Not Cover Some Federal Workers [Article]