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Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

2020 Democratic contender Sen. Bernie Sanders released a new plan Wednesday that would overhaul labor laws in the U.S. to increase union membership and rights.

Why it matters: The Vermont senator is competing for union endorsements against a wide Democratic field. The plan's release is timed with the Iowa state convention for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

For unions, the plan would:

  • Allow employees to organize through a majority sign-up process.
  • Push for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, which allowed 28 states to pass laws preventing employees from negotiating union security clauses into their contracts and financially weakened unions by not legally obligating employees to pay dues.
  • Ban employers from replacing striking workers.

For federal workers, the plan would:

  • Grant the right to strike.
  • Create federal protections against firing employees for any reason other than "just cause."
  • Force merging companies to honor existing union contracts.
  • Use health care savings from union negotiations to pay for Medicare for All.

For federal contractors, the plan would:

  • Grant federal contracts only to companies that protect unions, pay their workers a $15 minimum wage and don't outsource jobs overseas.

Go deeper: Unionized workers still make substantially more money

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.