Sen. Bernie Sanders has made ending at-will employment a part of his 2020 presidential platform.Eliminating at-will employment is one way to give hardworking employees more protection and power.Ending at-will employment would also not be devastating to employment if it was implemented nationwide. Bryce Covert is an independent journalist writing about the economy.This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.In most parts of the country, if you aren’t lucky enough to be part of a union that negotiated protections or in such demand that you can secure them in your own contract, you can be fired from your job at pretty much anytime and for virtually any reason, other than outright discrimination or for exercising your labor rights. This is what’s known as “at will” employment.
It would be more accurately called “at your employer’s will.” Your boss doesn’t have to have a good excuse. If your boss doesn’t like what you post online or how you wear your hair, for example, he or she can tell you to pack up your things and leave.At-will employment gives a significant upper hand to the country’s employers. But Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to change that dynamic.As part of a plan focused on workers’ and labor rights, , Sanders called for a national law mandating that employers can only fire employees for “just cause”—or in other words, only for good reason.American employers hold a lot of power over today’s workers. While Sanders’s idea wouldn’t completely balance the scales, it would give the workers’ side a little more weight: the reassurance that if they perform their jobs adequately, they can’t just be fired arbitrarily.
Trying to rebalance the scales of powerBehemoth corporations hold a lot of sway in today’s economy. Virtually every industry has been concentrating since the late 1990s, which has given companies monopsony power and left workers with fewer employment options..As the pool of companies dwindles, workers have little choice but to settle for the terms and conditions offered by the biggest employers. So those employers can keep pay and benefits low.In the most concentrated sectors, wages have been suppressed. Concentration has also meant that there are between 5% to 18% fewer jobs than there otherwise would be
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