The Unions and Labor Debate
The debate on Unions and Labor focuses on the interactions between employers and employees. How can workers be protected without harming business? What is the role of unions today? Should the US raise the minimum wage? Are OSHA regulations comprehensive enough to protect workers?
Official Democratic position
The Democratic Party opposes “…the attacks on collective bargaining that Republican governors and state legislatures are mounting in states around the country.” The Party believes “…we need to make sure our labor laws are modernized and keep pace with changes in our economy.” The Party supports the adoption and enforcement of comprehensive safety standards.
Official Republican position
“We salute the Republican governors and State legislatures who have saved their States from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions.” The Republican Party supports a National Right-To-Work law. The Party opposes the Project Labor Agreements and the Davis-Bacon Act. The Party supports enforcing the Hobbs Act and opposes “…OSHA’s overreaching regulation agenda.”
The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces federal labor laws related to safety and wages, issues unemployment insurance benefits, and collects some economic statistics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the DOL, which is responsible for establishing and enforcing workplace regulations.
Most labor unions today are in the public sector and are affiliated with either the AFL-CIO or the Change to Win Federation. Union leaders negotiate contracts, try to change workplace conditions, and represent workers in disputes with employers. 24 states have Right-To-Work laws, which prohibits requiring employees to join a labor union and pay union dues.
National Labor Relations Act 1935 - Guarantees rights for unions in the private sector to collectively bargain and strike
Fair Labor Standards Act 1938 - Introduced maximum workweek, established national minimum wage, prohibited most child labor. An amendment in 2009 raised the hourly minimum wage to $7.25
Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970 - Created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), established regulations to protect workers from hazards such as exposure to toxic substances
Most Vocal on Unions and Labor
These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.
The Spectrum on Unions and Labor
These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) - The largest federation of trade unions in the US
Competitive Enterprise Institute - An organization advocating principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty