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Worker Rights and Labor

Congresswoman Judy Chu with members of the Service Employees International Union.

Our country is built on the sweat of our construction workers, farmers, nurses, cooks and retail cashiers, just to name a few. Taking care of our country’s workers is of the utmost importance because they are the backbone of our economy. That’s why I am fighting against repeated attacks on workers’ rights, pensions and the freedom to organize.

I support working with labor to solve problems, build stronger workplaces and give working families a real voice. Unions give workers a way to express concerns about their safety, security, pay, benefits, and about the best practices to get the work done. In Washington, I am fighting to protect the right to organize, expand paid sick leave, combat discriminatory workplace practices, and keep workers safe. 

Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 per hour since 2009, resulting in millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet despite having a full-time job. No one who works hard every day and plays by the rules should live in poverty.  We should make sure that all workers can earn a living wage by raising the minimum wage. An increase in wages means an increase in consumer power that results in economic growth for our entire country. When workers have more money to spend, they tend to spend it in their communities. I have been so proud to see both Los Angeles County and the City of Pasadena taking steps to increase the minimum wage.  As a member of Congress, I am working to make that happen on the federal level as well.

In addition, all workers should have the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life and should not be penalized because of it. I have consistently supported legislation that enhances protections for workers that are discriminated against in the workplace based on their labor union association. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a comprehensive bill to protect workers’ rights to join unions and collectively bargain.

Protecting the Right to Organize

In 2018, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions in the case Janus v. AFSCME by undermining their rights to collectively bargain on behalf of employees. But public sector unions improve working conditions for public servants, and they improve public services. That’s why I am a cosponsor of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which protects the rights of state and local government employees to collectively bargain.

Strenghtening Workers' Rights

We must also end discrimination in the workplace. Every worker in America should be able to earn a living free from discrimination based on race, religion, age, national origin, or sexual orientation. In addition, immigrant workers should not be retaliated against if they report an unfair labor practice. That is why I have introduced the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act to ensure that workers who report such practices are able to maintain legal status while the claim is being investigated. 

In addition, workers who labor in hot conditions, risking illness or death from heat stress, should receive required water, shade, and rest periods. I introduced the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, named for a worker who died a preventable death from heat stroke after working for 10 hours straight in 105-degree temperatures. This legislation builds on legislation that I introduced as a member of the California Assembly that made California that first state in the nation to require paid shade and water breaks for those who work outside. It is time for a federal heat stress standard. 

I have also fought hard to extend federal employment discrimination law to protect workers based on sexual orientation and have strongly supported measures in Congress to prohibit discrimination on the basis of perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Finally, at a time when workers and their families are still struggling to get by, no one can risk missing a paycheck or losing a job due to an illness.  Many workers do not have paid leave they can use to take time off work when they are sick, or when they need to stay home to take care of a sick child or elderly relative. Too many workers face this fear when they or someone in their family is sick or needs medical care.  For the 40 million Americans who have no access to paid sick days, an everyday illness brings impossible choices between the jobs they need and the families they love.  Workers who can’t afford to stay home are forced to put their families – and the public's health – at risk. I am pushing for the legislation to provide workers with up to 12 weeks of income when they take time for their own health conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery.

More on Worker Rights and Labor

April 29, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, 105 House Democrats, led by House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), sent a letter to House Democratic and Republican leadership urging that labor unions be made eligible to access to recovery funds made possible under the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program.

December 17, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives voted on two packages of spending bills to keep the government open through fiscal year 2020 at levels higher than current funding and higher than the President’s budget request. The first package, under H.R.

December 11, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019. The bill will provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for qualified agricultural workers. It also improves the availability of farmworker housing ensures health and safety protections for workers, including heat stress protection. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:

August 22, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) is the 9th most active member of the 116th Congress, according to a new report by Quorum Analytics, which studied legislative activity from the beginning of the session – January 1, 2019 – to the start of the August Recess – July 31, 2019. Rep. Chu issued the following statement:

July 10, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC — Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court:

April 28, 2017 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – April 29, 2017 marks the 100th day of President Trump’s presidency, a marker used for every President since Franklin Roosevelt. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement regarding the impact of President Trump’s first one hundred days:

March 16, 2017 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Donald Trump introduced his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The proposal makes serious cuts to domestic programs and to the Department of State’s diplomacy and development programs, while increasing spending on the military, a deportation force, and a border wall. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:

October 21, 2016 Press Release

Pasadena, CA – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) hosted a Job Hunters Boot Camp at Grapevine Arbor Park in San Gabriel, CA. The Boot Camp was attended by over 100 job seekers who received resources, advice, and employment opportunities from 50 employers and volunteer groups. Attendees were able to get resume help, speak with employers, apply for jobs, and attend workshops on branding, growing a business, and more. There was also a specialized workshop for veterans entering the workforce. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

October 18, 2016 My Bills

Accomplishments During the 114th Congress (2014-2016)

In District

Bringing more federal resources to the San Gabriel Valley is one of my top priorities. This is why I partner with federal agencies to ensure that we have access to federal programs and funding that could benefit our region. I am proud to have worked with these agencies and the President’s Administration on the following initiatives.