The Center for American Progress (CAP) Union announced on Wednesday its membership voted overwhelmingly (99% of voting members) to reject the current collective bargaining agreement on the table from CAP management and authorize action up to and including work stoppages in response (disclosure: the author of this blog previously worked for the Center for American Progress and was its union president). CAP is a think tank that has been closely aligned with Democratic administrations, and generally promotes progressive policy and advocacy work – including developing pro-labor research and advocacy.
One of the main sticking points between the union and management is the current salary floor, which is $40,000. Management’s latest contract, which union members rejected, would require the union to give up across-the-board raises in order to move that floor higher. The CAP Union recently surveyed its membership and found that 40% of CAP union members spend at least 40% of their paychecks on rent. The CAP Union is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), which represents similar organizations and has grown tremendously over the last few years as non-profits across the sector have unionized. NPEU’s president told the Huffington Post that the $40,000 floor at CAP falls below other similar organizations, including a floor of $51,700 at the Economic Policy Institute, $53,558 at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and $50,000 at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In Congress, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced a new bill, the Teamwork for Employees and Managers (TEAM) Act, which would allow employees and employers to establish what it terms Employee Involvement Organizations, or EIOs. EIOs, the bill’s explainer says, would allow workers and managers to discuss workplace issues together without going through the union ratification process set forth by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In essence, the bill would permit employers and employees to create company unions, which section 8(a)(2) of the NLRA expressly bans. The bill would also provide EIO members at companies with more than $1 billion in yearly gross revenues the chance to elect a non-voting member onto the company’s board of directors. That proposal is a contrast to something like Senator Elizabeth Warren’s previously introduced Accountable Capitalism Act, which would require companies with revenue of over $1 billion to get a federal charter of corporate citizenship, which would then require the company directors to consider the interests of not only shareholders, but employees and the communities where the company operates, when making decisions. The bill would also require all disputes in EIOs to go through the U.S. court system instead of the National Labor Relations Board, which handles all disputes between unions and companies, as required by the NLRA.