Brown Leads Bill to Protect Collective Bargaining Rights for Misclassified Workers

Legislation Part of Brown’s Plan to Restore the Value of Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation, The Protecting Workers’ Freedom to Organize Act, to update and strengthen the outdated National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to protect workers’ rights to collectively bargain, even if they have been misclassified by their employer. Brown’s bill is part of his plan to make hard work pay off for Ohioans. Brown’s plan proposes strengthening collective bargaining right protections to ensure all employees have the right to unionize.

Brown’s bill would:

  • Clarify the definition of ‘supervisor’ to ensure workers are not falsely misclassified in order to deny collective bargaining rights; and
  • Clarify that all workers are presumed to be employees, even when classified by employers as independent contractors, unless they are truly free from the employer’s control.

“In the face of employer attempts to prevent workers from forming unions, we should update worker protections to reinforce the rights of all workers to band together and fight for better pay and safe working conditions,” said Brown. “Workers should not be punished based on outdated job titles that have little to do with the job they do.”

Brown’s updates to the NLRA ensure that workers and supervisors are not inappropriately denied collective bargaining rights. Allowing more workers to collectively bargain reduces worker marginalization, restores the value of work, and grows the middle class. 

What is misclassification?

Employers often misclassify workers as supervisors and independent contractors, robbing them of their collective bargaining rights. Supervisors and independent contractors are not covered by the NLRA.

The legislation is part of Brown’s broader efforts to restore the value of work so Ohioans’ work will pay off once again. His plan would restore the value of work by:

  1. Raising workers’ wages and benefits
  2. Giving workers more power in the workplace
  3. Making it possible for more workers to save for retirement
  4. Encouraging more companies to invest in their workforces

As part of his plan, Brown has also introduced legislation to provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules, expand two anti-poverty tax credits that help put money back in the pockets of working Ohioans and families, and provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave