Day 29 - Wyoming Workers

The Labor Movement and the Democratic Party have worked hand in hand for nearly a century organizing through Unions to ensure working people and their families have a champion in our political and economic systems. Here in Wyoming, our Unions are vital to the continued economic success of working families and the Wyoming Democratic Party will stand with them in order to support their voices and concerns through the democratic process.

 

During the 2017 General Session of the Wyoming State Legislature, there have been number of bills introduced that, if passed, will help working families across our State.

 

SF 89 (Presumptive Disability for Firefighters) would allow firefighters employed within the State to claim occupational disability for diseases presumed to have developed through the course of their employment. This will allow firefighters battling occupational related diseases such as cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia to have increased retirement and/or worker compensation benefits. SF 89 passed out of the Senate and is currently on General File in the House waiting to move forward in the legislative process.

 

HB 71 (Unemployment Insurance - Electronic Communication) allows individuals seeking and receiving unemployment insurance to opt-in for electronic communications and notices from the Department of Workforce Services rather than through traditional mail. HB 71 passed both chambers of the Wyoming State Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Mead on February 14, 2017.

 

HB 209 (Disparity in Wages and Benefits Between Men and Women) was introduced by House Minority Leader Connolly to task the Department of Workforce Services with updating a 2003 study on the gender wage gap. This updated study will use a multivariable analysis in order to accurately depict the current state of the gender wage gap in Wyoming. HB 209 passed out of the House and just recently passed out of the Senate Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee.

 

While Wyoming Unions and Democrats in both chambers of the Legislature have been working tirelessly to make sure these bills are passed into law to support Wyoming families, HB 181 (Government Contracts - Labor Organizations) was introduced by Republican Representative Larson. HB 181 would have limited State agencies’ requirements to award governmental contracts to companies who support Unions and incentivized governmental contracts to those companies who do not support their employees right to organize. This bill was an attack on Wyoming Unions and working families but was thankfully defeated in the House Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee through a 4-5 vote.

 

Wyoming Republicans do not support Unions and through the widespread GOP advocacy of so called “Right to Work” laws are attempting to undermine workers’ rights. These laws are designed to decrease Union membership and the overall economic and political power they hold. Wyoming, unfortunately, already has one of these laws under statute. Now both Wyoming Unions and Democrats need to use the bond built over the past century to organize and advance the causes of organized labor, Unions, and the Labor Movement. Only when workers’ rights are fully protected will we see equitable compensation, benefits, and employment for Wyoming workers and families.

Courtesy of the Equality State Policy Center