Rep. Axne introduces legislation to protect health insurance for locked-out workers

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Yesterday, MP Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced legislation to protect workers’ health insurance benefits from being significantly altered or taken away during a lockout. This calculation aims employer who use these tactics to force their unionized employees back into the workplace rather than negotiate in good faith to resolve disputes.

Rep. Axnes Health Protection Act for Locked Out Workers would create a separate category of unfair labor practices, punishable by fines, for employers who engage in the 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 Rep. Newman (IL-03). Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is leading the Senate version Health Protection Act for Locked Out Workers.

“Workers have the right to collectively negotiate better wages, better working conditions and better benefits, but we see employers willing to compromise the health and safety of workers by cutting their benefits to get them back in the door” said Rep. Cindy Axne. “I’m excited to join my colleagues in introducing this much-needed bill because the last thing workers in Iowa and across the country should be worrying about is losing access to health care during a lockout.”

This legislation was supported 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 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 remains committed to Iowa workers. Earlier this year, the congresswoman introduced the Striking Workers’ Health Protection Act, which requires employers to continue to provide health insurance to striking workers.

Confirmations:

“The BCTGM commends MP Axne for introducing the Locked Out Workers Health Protection Act. We applaud their continued commitment to protecting the healthcare of striking and locked-out workers. This law and MP Axne’s Striking Health Protection Act help ensure that conditions are balanced for workers during a labor dispute. Employees should never lose their health insurance simply because they are exercising their legal rights.” International Union of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Gran Millers

“After three years of the pandemic, it is clear that frontline workers are essential and we need to be respected, protected and paid. It is shameful how far corporations will go to divide brave workers who demand higher wages, better benefits and unions for all. Working people should not have to choose between providing health care and standing up for what is right for us, our patients and our communities. I am proud to support the Locked Out Workers Health Protection Act, a crucial step in rewriting the rules to put power in the hands of working people, not companies.” Barbara Standerson, PT, MHS, and Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa

“When a company refuses to provide health care during a labor dispute, it’s not just hurting a worker to gain influence. It attacks the worker’s families, injuring spouses and harming children. We couldn’t be prouder of Congresswoman Axne for introducing this type of legislation. She always puts people before profit and the welfare of families above all else. We want to thank her for introducing this and we look forward to the day it becomes law.” – Charlie Wishman, President, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO

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