workers' rights

Texas is in crisis, and our workers have stepped up to supply food, care, and many other vital services for our community. Workers have earned our respect and support many times over. However, Sarah Davis and Republicans in Austin have instead focused on increasing profits for their corporate donors, undermining worker protections, and keeping benefits at the bare minimum. Davis is flush with cash from anti-worker, pro-corporate PACs that prioritize profits over people, even calling for COVID-19 liability protections for businesses that endanger the safety of our community. We deserve a representative who stands up to corporate interests and serves as a strong advocate for working families. Ann Johnson will fight to ensure that all Texans are able to work in a safe environment, receive fair wages and benefits, and make their voices heard. As your state representative, Ann will:

Protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of coronavirus cases in Texas rises, frontline workers continue to risk their health to protect us. These essential workers, from nurses to grocery store clerks, deserve supportive measures such as appropriate personal protective equipment, free workplace COVID-19 testing, paid sick leave, and workers’ compensation coverage. 

We must also support the Texans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Texas’ unemployment rate has reached record highs, leaving hundreds of thousands without income or health insurance coverage. Our unemployment benefits are running dangerously low in funding, and we must shore up those benefits to ease the pain of this crisis. We must also eliminate unnecessary barriers to receiving assistance, such as the one-week waiting period. 

Defend workers’ right to organize. Texas is a “right-to-work” state, which weakens unions’ organizing power by allowing employees at a unionized workplace to opt out of joining the union and paying dues, while still being entitled to union benefits. 

Federal law already decrees that no one can be required to join a union as a condition of employment, so “right-to-work” laws don’t protect workers; they protect big businesses. They reduce workers’ ability to bargain with their employers, and therefore reduce employees’ opportunities for fairer wages and working conditions. Ann will strive to overturn “right to work” laws to help Texas workers obtain fairer wages and benefits, and safer working conditions. 

Raise the minimum wage. Our cost of living has continued to rise, but Texas salaries and wages remain stagnant; we haven’t seen a minimum wage increase since 2009.

Texans should not have to live paycheck to paycheck, or to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. The minimum wage in Texas is only $7.25 per hour, which translates to less than $300 per week for a full-time worker. Everyone deserves a livable wage. Ann will fight to ensure that the millions of hardworking Texans working essential, minimum wage jobs can afford to live and provide for their families here. 

Promote opportunity, safety, and equality in the workplace. Over the past ten years, the Texas legislature has enacted dozens of laws to undermine workers. Just last year, two bills proposed by Republican legislators would have taken away sick leave from hardworking Texans. Our current representative, Sarah Davis, has failed to stand up for workers.

Davis authored a bill in 2015 requiring Texas courts to dismiss pending lawsuits for asbestos-related or silica-related injuries from 2005. Davis authored another bill in 2017 banning voluntary dues deductions for public employees who belong to professional associations, and just last year, she voted for a bill that makes it illegal for state-funded projects to make agreements with collective bargaining associations. 

Ann understands the need for greater protections in the workplace, and will fight to: 

  • Prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, an illegal practice that allows employers to avoid paying overtime, employment taxes, and benefits. 
  • Promote the increased use of apprenticeships to teach workers the skills needed to compete in a global economy. 
  • Ensure that evaluation of companies who bid on public contracts includes their safety records, health insurance coverage, and openness to hiring qualified employees who have conviction records. 
  • Prevent employers from forcing workers to sign unethical non-disclosure & arbitration agreements. 
  • Protect workers’ paychecks against wage theft by employers.
  • Expand worksite safety training, and ensure low-income, high risk workers understand their workplace rights and how to defend them.