Senator Murray on Inclusion of Policies to Strengthen Worker Protections and Hold Corporations Accountable in Build Back Better
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on key provisions to protect workers and hold corporations accountable that were included in the Democrats’ Build Back Better package. These provisions increase monetary penalties of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act; establish monetary penalties when corporations violate the National Labor Relations Act; and provide much needed funding to the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board to enforce workers’ rights.
“Our labor laws are supposed to protect workers’ rights to organize, to have a safe workplace, and receive fair wages. But right now, corporations can flagrantly violate these rights and all they get is a slap on the wrist. That makes it significantly harder for millions of workers across the country to bargain collectively for better wages, better benefits, and a safer workplace.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead to protect these rights, but this package will take important steps by making corporations pay the price when they break the law. If we’re serious about building back a better economy that works for everyone, not just those on top, then we’ve got to protect workers and ensure that their rights are respected. This isn’t too much to ask—so I’m fighting hard to get this across the finish line. And I won’t stop there—I’ll also keep fighting every day to pass the PRO Act, comprehensive legislation to protect workers' right to organize."
The Build Back Better framework ensures labor law violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act carry penalties that meaningfully protect workers’ rights. In addition, it would establish a monetary penalty under the National Labor Relations Act. Currently, there are no monetary penalties for corporations who break the law by violating their workers’ right to come together and seek fair pay, safe working conditions, and respect on the job, whether that means organizing a union or simply standing up for one another. Too often, the only consequence these companies face is having to put up a sign, notifying their workers that they have violated the law. The Build Back Better framework corrects this injustice and protects workers’ rights by:
- Bolstering existing protections by increasing monetary penalties for violating worker protection laws, ensuring that companies will pay more meaningful penalties when they violate the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act —including by committing wage theft, denying workers overtime pay, violating health and safety standards, failing to protect our farm workers, and more.
- Holding corporations accountable by creating monetary penalties when they violate the National Labor Relations Act, ensuring that companies will pay fines when they violate the law. These new fines would finally ensure that companies pay the price when they violate workers’ organizing rights.
- Investing over $2 billion in enforcement of workers’ rights, helping the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board more effectively protect workers by investigating and enforcing our labor laws.
Senator Murray has long fought to protect workers’ rights and hold corporations accountable for when they violate them. As a former union member herself, Senator Murray has been at the forefront of the fight to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces.
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