April 06, 2021

Letter: Protecting Workers

 

“The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans had a 15-minute conference call with Senator Chuck Grassley recently. In anticipation of our concerns the senator included his point person on prescription drugs and his tax counsel who handles pension issues.

The senator seemed surprised I brought up the PRO Act, which protects and expands the freedom to organize unions. Grassley had concerns with the bill, but we explained how this pandemic has exposed the cracks in our social safety net. It’s hard to dream of retiring with dignity when most wages have stagnated for decades. The pandemic caused massive layoffs and unsafe working conditions for essential workers who kept the economy running.

Too many workers lack paid sick leave, basic personal protective equipment, or a voice on the job. With no union protection, employers often will misclassify workers as independent contractors, or supervisors strip them of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including overtime pay, company benefits, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation. Nor do these employers contribute to misclassified employees’ Social Security or Medicare.

The PRO Act cracks down on misclassification, extending NLRA protections to more workers. Nobody should be surprised that seniors care about today’s struggling workers. A strong labor movement is good for all Americans and continues to be the leading force to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, ensuring a measure of retirement security for all Americans.”

– Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans Vice President Kay Pence

This letter to the editor was originally published in the Quad-City Times on April 02, 2021.

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