Backgrounder

Restoring Justice for Workers Act

Tags:

Democrat bill, Voluntary arbitration

Bill name: Restoring Justice for Workers Act

Bill sponsors: H.R. 2749, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), S. 1491, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

 

Summary: The Restoring Justice for Workers Act would prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts.

  • It reverses a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Epic Systems v. Lewis, which affirmed that the National Labor Relations Act and Federal Arbitration Act permits employers and employees to agree to the use of arbitration agreements to settle employment disputes individually with workers rather than through collective arbitration or legal action.
  • In practice, this legislation would allow groups of workers to engage in class-action lawsuits against employers. Employers and employees could not voluntarily agree to sign arbitration agreements.
  • “Arbitration provides consumers a simpler, cheaper and faster path to justice than does the judicial system. . . Rather than wipe arbitration out, we should be considering ways that make it still better.” -Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee

 

Background: Legislative language with the same intent of prohibiting voluntarily agreed to arbitration in employment disputes is also included in the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2472/S. 1306). Separately, the PRO Act would require forced arbitration as it relates to the negotiation between an employer and labor union for a first union contract.

Bill Status: The legislation was re-introduced in the House and Senate on May 15, 2019. The following day, a hearing on the bill was held at the House Judiciary Committee. No further legislative action has been announced.

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