The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is an organization composed of United State federal and state legislators, foundations, and corporations. ALEC members work to create so-called model policies for legislators to introduce as bills in their respective states. These bills generally focus on limited government and federalism at the state level. In the employment sector, ALEC has pushed a largely pro-corporation, anti-worker agenda, often referred to as a “race to the bottom” for wages, worker rights, and benefits. ALEC attempts to disguise these bills by giving them titles that may be interpreted to actually benefit workers. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) works to expose the truth regarding ALEC, its true agenda, and the corporations that back the organization. CMD reports that legislators have introduced at least 117 bills stemming from ALEC model policies across the United States in 2013 alone. These bills include proposed bans on paid sick leave requirements, eliminating or blocking increases in minimum wage, and anti-union provisions.
In this day and age, workers are becoming more and more vocal about their right to a living wage and proper benefits. ALEC attempts to disguise its proposed policies with propagandist titles to insinuate to the average American that the legislation would actually help them. This is not the case, as much of the legislation would work to suppress wages and limit workers’ rights. Examples of bills based on ALEC’s model policies include:
Right to Work Bill: This bill does not, as the name suggests, aim to provide guaranteed employment to workers by created jobs or enhanced job security. Instead, the laws limit and regulate union contracts, restrict freedom of association, and allow non-union employees to benefit from union contracts for free. This weakened position for unions can lead to lower wages and worsening health and safety conditions for workers. Many refer to these laws as “Right to work for less” laws.
Paycheck Protection Act: At first glance, this law seems extremely pro-worker. However, the law actually aims to prohibit or significantly limit employers’ ability to deduct union fees from paychecks and limit collection of union dues for political purposes. This in fact limits the political voices of organized workers and protects corporations in the process. Many experts state these bills are simply a way to attempt to dismantle unions.
In addition to anti-union legislation, ALEC has worked to stop many state legislatures from increasing the minimum wage or providing paid sick time this year. Charles Koch, a prominent member of ALEC and CEO of corporate giant Koch Industries, stated that completely eliminating the minimum wage is the first and most important step to “economic freedom.” That type of economic freedom will only benefits companies, however, and will leave workers helpless and with very few options. ALEC’s “race to the bottom” is not good for any American workers.
If you are experiencing any type of unfairness in the workplace, do not hesitate to call the employment attorneys at HKM today.