Legislation & Policy

The basic workplace rights that Americans enjoy today have been championed by organized labor for more than 100 years.

Without the political efforts of unions, American workers would not have a right to a minimum wage, a forty-hour week, overtime pay, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, or the right to form and join unions. Unions have been at the forefront of the fight to make workplaces safer and to ensure that no one will be discriminated against at work because of their race, ethnicity, or gender.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO remains politically active because there are organized interests in Pennsylvania and the United States that want to dilute or eliminate the rights workers have established over the last century of struggle.

The PA AFL-CIO participates in politics in three ways:

  • First, at election time, the PA AFL-CIO endorses candidates for public office at all levels who pledge to support working families.
  • Second, the PA AFL-CIO monitors legislative politics in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. and speaks out against initiatives that will harm workers’ and their families. This legislative work is carried out according to an agenda adopted at the PA AFL-CIO’s biannual convention by the elected representatives of rank-and-file workers. The PA AFL-CIO often works closely with other advocacy organizations to advance a common progressive agenda.
  • Third, the PA-AFL-CIO conducts political education and training programs for its members through the work of its Committee on Political Education (COPE).


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Today in History: The 1965 Voting Rights Act

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