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 believes it should be “easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions. We will fight to pass laws that direct the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if a simple majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards, as well as laws that bring companies to the negotiating table.” The Party opposes right-to-work laws.
Official Republican position
The Republican Party believes all workers “must be free to accept raises and rewards without veto power from union officials. All unionized workers should be able to find out what is going on in their union trust funds and in their executive compensation.” The Party supports “the right of states to enact Right-to-Work laws and for a national law to protect the economic liberty of the modern workforce.”
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