We’ve come a long way in Washington state when it comes to workers’ rights. We’ve won policies like secure scheduling for food and retail workers in Seattle. And at the beginning of 2018, paid sick days for workers across the state went into effect.
But now, anti-worker members of Congress — including WA’s very own Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-05) — are threatening to undo much of that progress with HR 4219, the outrageously misnamed “Workflex in the 21st Century” Act.
“Workflex” kind of sounds like one of those weird pieces of exercise equipment they try to sell you on TV, but this one has nothing to do with boosting your flexibility. Instead, it creates an opportunity for employers to provide less, and stand in the way of employees taking time off.
HR 4219 would preempt state and local sick days and scheduling laws, allowing employers to simply opt out of following the policies we’ve fought hard for. You heard that right…employers would be able to exempt themselves from having to follow our laws just by providing a “qualified flexible workplace arrangement.” That’s a plan where employees get a certain amount of leave and some type of flexible work arrangement. Just provide a work plan that “substantially complies” with the bill’s requirements, and poof, you’re magically exempted from paid sick days and secure scheduling.
It sounds absurd, but that’s actually what they’re trying to do. They don’t like the fact that workers in Washington and other states are standing up for ourselves and creating change, so they’re trying to push through federal legislation that would undo our wins at the local and state level. They want to override the pro-worker policies we’ve won for ourselves.
And Rep. McMorris Rodgers is co-sponsoring the bill, despite the fact that it’s not even what her own constituents want. In fact, she represents voters in Spokane, who pushed for their own sick leave law that went into effect just last year. (And Spokane’s law helped set the stage for the statewide victory on paid sick days. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like it?)
We shouldn’t have to tell them that we, of course, want to maintain the victories we’ve won for workers. But we need to send a message to Congress that workers won’t stand for allowing employers to decide whether or not they follow the laws we win, just because they decide they’re qualified and flexible and feel like it. Click here to send an email to your member of Congress: Support workers and families, and DON’T support HR 4219.
Corporations shouldn’t get to pick and choose which laws to follow. And anti-worker members of Congress shouldn’t get to undermine our ability to vote, speak out, and pass laws like paid sick days and secure scheduling.
Click here to tell your U.S. House representative: Stand with working families and voters in Washington, and don’t support HR 4219.
Thanks for your support,