The proposed Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, introduced in Congress last week, would change federal labor law to allow employers to pay higher wages to selected union employees. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Guess again.
The Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and in the House by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) Under the RAISE Act, collective-bargaining agreements would establish a "floor" for wages, a minimum standard that employees could then exceed for "those workers who go the extra mile." Under current law, an employer must first bargain with the union and obtain the union’s agreement before rewarding individual achievement. Click here for an explanation of the RAISE Act from conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.
Who would oppose such a law? Unions. Unions are adamantly opposed to allowing employers the discretion to reward individual efforts (one could accurately state that unions oppose allowing employers any discretion whatsoever, but that’s a topic for a different post). Expect the unions to quietly put pressure on the Democratic majority to kill this bill. In our humble opinion, the RAISE Act is primarily an attempt by Congressional Republicans to bait unions into embarrassing themselves by opposing a bill that aims to give their own members higher pay. Undoubtedly, this will also play into the Republicans’ strategy of opposing the Employee Free Choice Act. But, given the current Democratic majority in Congress, don’t expect RAISE to fly.