State Legislative Issues

The Teamsters Union actively advocates on behalf of Teamster members and all of America’s working families at all levels of government. Priority state issues for the 2016 state legislative sessions include:

Lower Wage Legislation

Legislatures in some of the states that passed minimum wage increases through the ballot process are attempting to undo the increases by exempting certain industries and/or age groups.

Many states are trying to weaken or repeal Prevailing Wage laws that require public projects to pay a wage that is typical for that type of work in that local community. Examples of legislation designed to weaken Prevailing Wage include re-calculation of the wage equation at opportunistic intervals and exempting counties declared a state and federal disaster area.

Preemption legislation is being used to undermine local control and prevent or undo laws passed by cities and counties to create local Prevailing Wage or minimum wage laws higher than the Federal minimum wage.

Employee Misclassification

Legislatures are scrambling to strengthen and weaken Employee Classification laws. Efforts to strengthen Misclassification laws include robust funding of enforcement and investigation of misclassification and sliding scale penalties for employees that are routinely or systematically misclassify employees. Efforts to weaken proper classification of employees include creating weak and inconsequential penalties that do not create a deterrent, creation of franchiser loopholes, and exempting certain industries.

Paid Family and Sick Leave

The federal Family Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child, or to care for a family member, or to attend to the employee’s own serious medical health condition. The law applies to private employers with 50 or more employees. The FMLA also allows states to set standards that are more expansive than the federal law. Twelve states have expanded forms of leave and many more are considering expansion.

Paycheck Deception

Paycheck Deception laws aim to prohibit the state and local governments, and in some cases private employers, from making automated payroll deductions of union dues and DRIVE contributions on behalf of the union.

Paycheck Deception is designed to make the collection of union dues more burdensome and to restrict union political advocacy on behalf of the membership. In effect, to deny union members their freedom of association to tilt the political playing field toward big corporations by imposing restrictions on workers’ political activity while leaving corporations free to engage in unlimited political spending.
Dues collection is also under attack by legislation that proposes periodic re-authorization at intervals as frequently as once a quarter.

Right To Work

Because unions have a duty to provide fair representation to union members and non-members alike many states allow unions to assess and collect “agency fees” or “fair share fees” from non-members to remunerate the union for costs associated with negotiating and enforcing contracts.

State level Right to Work legislation seeks to unravel that basic compromise in an unacceptable way. Lets take a look at how.

Model Right to Work legislation:

No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:

(A) to resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;

(B) to become or remain a member of a labor organization;

The B clause accomplishes nothing that hasn’t already been accomplished by Taft-Hartley and subsequent court rulings regarding Closed and Union Shops.

(C) to pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;

Clause C eliminates a unions ability to collect “Agency fees” and “fair share fees” from non-members.

Average salaries are almost $6,000 dollars lower, workplace fatalities are nearly 55% higher, the poverty rate is higher and insurance coverage rates are lower in Right to Work states.