Labor groups advocate for broadband expansion, telecommunications regulation

While Democrats have stalled without a 60 member super majority in the Senate, members of the labor community are calling on them to take action to subvert the filibuster rule.

Communications Workers of America District 4 Administrative Director Frank Mathews explained how Senate Democrats can get around the filibuster and why they need to do it as soon as possible. He also discussed the expansion of broadband to rural America and poor inner city neighborhoods.

Worker friendly legislation

Mathews said Democrats are doing anything to pass worker friendly legislation. While the main focus remains the PRO Act, Democrats are working on the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.

The bill will give teeth to workers rights. Mathews said the bill will work to improve the ability to win a first contract, protect striking public and private employees, eliminate threatening behavior by employers and more.

The legislation goes hand in hand with the PRO Act, making it easier to vote for a union. While Democrats have said public elections are under attack at the state level, they also believe union elections are under attack.

Democrats face Senate roadblocks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has confirmed he will work to block the Biden agenda at every turn, effectively killing any legislation he wants with the filibuster, just like during the Obama administration.

Mathews said Democrats need to get serious about eliminating the filibuster or finding ways around it. He said the unconstitutional Senate rule is being abused by Republicans in order to rule from the minority.

Expanding broadband

The rural divide and lack of broadband continues to expand as telecommunications companies remain unregulated. The New York Times reported an estimated 21 to 42 million Americans are without broadband. These people are mostly found in rural areas and poor, inner city neighborhoods.

The problem was highlighted during the pandemic, when most schools shifted to some form of remote learning. Mathews detailed stories of people having to drive to their local McDonald’s, as it was the only place with the broadband required to complete school work.


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