In 1935, Congress passed, and President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (aka Wagner Act), the legal foundation for a new national labor policy, guaranteeing the right of private sector employees to organize into unions, engage in collective bargaining and participate in collective employment actions. Under this Act, the government would act as a neutral intermediary, to promote labor peace, protecting and balancing the rights of employers and workers, while promoting stronger labor-management relationships. In the midst of the Great Depression, massive economic inequalities and expanding Fascist and Communist dictatorships, the United States government decided that it served the best interests of our nation, our democracy, and our people, to have a national labor policy based on cooperation, collaboration, and collective bargaining. Utilizing this policy, we put people back to work, rebuilt our economy and country, won victory in the Second World War, and built the strongest, working/middle class citizenry in the history of the world.

Over the last forty years, anti-union corporations, far-right extremists and their political allies have continued their relentless attacks to weaken and dismantle the NLRA and national labor policy: politicizing the National Labor Relations Board; allowing Federal judges to create countless loopholes, exemptions and exceptions to the law; disproportionately favoring the rights of employers to the detriment of employees under the false claims of economic/individual freedom and so-called “free trade”. The consequential results speak for themselves: a rapidly declining American middle class; corporations closing American factories and moving production overseas; a U.S. trade deficit of more than $679 Billion dollars (2020); parents having to work 2-4 jobs with longer hours, less pay and benefits to support their struggling families; lower jobs/economic opportunities for our children; lower union membership/density; and, finally, a weaker United States of America, trying to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and facing greater challenges/threats from other rising world powers (China, Russia, etc.).

In 2021, our country is ready for change and an economic revitalization; to strengthen our national labor policy and bring it into the 21st century: Congress must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. These federal laws will bring back a new, fairer balance of employer-employee rights; promote strong labor-management relationships and collective bargaining; hold bad employers both responsible and accountable for their unlawful actions against workers; bring renewed hope, jobs and economic opportunities to millions of American working families and future generations; and finally, these laws will help to rebuild America and make our nation stronger and more united.

Sisters and Brothers, if there is one lesson to be learned over the last forty years, it is this simple truth: We are always stronger when we act collectively together.  So please, on behalf of yourself, your family, and your union sisters and brothers throughout the country, join our collective action campaign and contact Congressman Steve Chabot, Congressman Ben Wenstrup, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Senator Rob Portman, and demand that they stand up for all working Americans by co-sponsoring and voting for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.

Thank you, and may God’s Blessings be with all working American families throughout 2021… In Solidarity, U and I…

(Peter M. McLinden Esq. is a proud member of AFSCME Local 2461/Union Township, and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – pmclinden@cincinnatiaflcio.org)