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Legislative Updates

House committee considers three anti-labor bills

On June 29, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a markup today on three anti-labor bills to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), voting party-line to advance all three. They are the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (H.R. 986), the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775), and the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776).

H.R. 986 seeks to exempt Native American reservations from the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. The language of this particular bill is harmful to labor, however, as the exemption extends beyond businesses that solely engage in internal tribal affairs. It includes commercial businesses made up predominantly of non-Native American employees and caters primarily to non-Native American consumers. This bill aims to strip all workers, Native American or not, of their rights to bargain collectively and form unions within businesses that compete outside tribal lands. As it is written, this bill uses tribal sovereignty to the detriment of both Native and non-Native American workers alike, by removing protections and depriving employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

H.R. 2775 would amend the NLRA, seeking to limit unions’ ability to engage employees by delaying and limiting the contact information employers are required to provide prior to union elections. The bill would replace the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) current rules requiring employers to provide contact information, such as available telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, within two business days to all parties. In its place, the bill would allow employers to provide only one form of contact information for employees, and employers would not be required to provide this election until seven days after the NLRB rules on the appropriate bargaining unit. As written, this bill removes current, agreed-upon rules, replacing them with transparently anti-labor measures.

H.R. 2776 would eliminate an NLRB decision allowing workers to form smaller, department-level unions within a workplace and would lengthen the minimum amount of time necessary to hold a union election to 35 days. This would make it more difficult for workers to exercise their rights to bargain collectively and to form unions, and it would unduly complicate and delay the union election process.

“Rather than considering anti-labor bills that strip workers of their ability to bargain for better wages and working conditions, we should be focusing on polices that promote economic security,” said House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA).

“Workers in America should be able to collectively bargain for fair wages, reasonable hours, safe workplaces, health care, and retirement benefits,” said Vice Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). “The bills the Committee passed today threaten transparent collective-bargaining practices. Instead of taking away workers' rights, we should be discussing policies that reduce income inequality and help hard-working Americans get ahead.”

All proposed amendments, including more than a dozen from committee Democrats, were rejected or found non-germane. The bills now advance to the House floor to be voted on, where they will likely pass, before they proceed to the Senate, where at least H.R. 2775 and H.R. 2776 are unlikely to pass.

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