Representative Axne introduces legislation to protect health insurance for locked-out workers
Yesterday, Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced legislation to prevent workers’ health care benefits from being significantly altered or cut during a lockout. This bill aims employers who use this tactic as a means of forcing their unionized employees back to the workplace instead of negotiating in good faith to resolve disputes.
Rep. Axene’s Locked-out Workers Health Care Protection Act would create a separate category of unfair labor practice, subject to fines, for employers who engage in this practice. Current co-sponsors include Rep. Norton (DC-At-Large), Rep. Jackson Lee (TX-18), Rep. Titus (NV-01), Rep. Williams (GA-05), Rep. Pocan (WI – 02) and Representative Newman (IL-03). Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio leads the Senate version of the Locked-out Workers Health Care Protection Act.
“Workers have the right to collectively bargain for better wages, better working conditions and better benefits, but we see employers willing to put workers’ health and safety at risk by taking away their benefits to bring them back. in the door”, said Rep. Cindy Axne. “I am thrilled to join my colleagues in introducing this much-needed bill, because the last thing workers in Iowa and across the country should worry about is losing access to health care for a lockout.”
This legislation has been approved by: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW ), Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and International Association of Iron Workers (IW).
Rep. Axne continues to champion the interests of Iowa workers. Earlier this year, the congresswoman introduced the Striking Workers Health Care Protection Act, which requires employers to continue to provide health insurance to striking workers.
“The BCTGM congratulates Rep. Axne on the introduction of the Locked-Out Workers Health Care Protection Act. We salute his continued commitment to protecting the health care benefits of striking and locked-out workers. This legislation and Rep. Axne’s Striking Workers Health Care Protection Act help level the playing field for workers during a labor dispute. Workers should never lose their health insurance simply for exercising their legal rights. – International Union of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Millworkers
“Three years into the pandemic, it is clear that frontline workers are essential and we must be respected, protected and paid. It’s shameful how far corporations will go to divide brave workers who demand higher wages, better benefits and unions for all. Workers should not have to choose between health care and taking a stand for what is good for us, our patients and our communities. I’m proud to support the Locked-Out Workers Health Care Protection Act, a crucial step in rewriting the rules so that workers, not corporations, have the power. – Barbara Standerson, PT, MHS and Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa
“When a company denies health care during a labor dispute, it’s not just hurting a worker to gain weight. It’s attacking the worker’s families, hurting spouses, and hurting children. We couldn’t be more proud of MP Axne for bringing this kind of legislation forward. She always puts people before profits and the well-being of families first. We want to thank her for bringing this forward and we look forward to the day that this will become law. Charlie Wishman, President, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO