New House Republican leaders plan barrage of anti-labor laws and sham investigations – People’s World


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a UNITE labor protest outside the Senate office buildings in support of Senate cafeteria workers employed by Restaurant Associates on July 20, 2022. Anti-union Republicans are now poised to take control of a key House committee, Sanders will have to act as the Senate’s firewall against their efforts. | Roll call Bill Clark / CQ via AP

WASHINGTON—The “anti-PRO law.” Union recognition elections in slow motion. No card control. Compensation time instead of overtime. Bosses can impose convoluted requirements on workers seeking paid family and medical leave. And partisan investigations, especially of Biden-appointed NLRB members Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty, are falling out of our ears.

Welcome to the predictions, leaked by the self-proclaimed “union avoidance” law firm, aka Littler Mendelson, and other sources, of what the House Republican-led Education and Labor Committee will try to find. impose on workers and their allies at the next 118th Congress.

There is a saving factor against this war supported by right-wing corporations against unions and workers. Control of the Senate remains in the hands of Democrats, which means any nasty plans dreamed up by the House panel will likely find a graveyard just across Capitol Hill.

And Senator Bernie Sanders will likely lead this graveyard for Republican brainstorming.

The Vermont independent, workers’ oldest and most trusted ally in Congress, is set to become the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, succeeding the Washington State Democrat Patty Murray. He takes care of all labor legislation.

That’s because Murray, who now chairs the HELP committee and the Senate appropriations subcommittee, which helps distribute the Department of Labor and other education and workforce funds, should chair the full appropriations committee, which handles all discretionary federal, defense, and domestic spending.

Once Republicans eliminate “Labour” from the name of the House panel, again, who will send Sanders the bills to bury is up in the air. Representative Virginia Foxx, RN.C., led the committee the last time her party controlled the House. She wants to start over. Foxx is so anti-union that she once asked the North Carolina media if unions should legally be allowed to exist.

But Foxx has reached her party’s six-year limit in those top positions and needs a waiver to get her back. If there is no waiver, the primary contender is Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. In the voting records, there is no difference between Foxx (AFL-CIO score 2021 zero, lifespan 6%) and Banks (zero 2021, lifespan 5%).

That still leaves the question of what the ruling Republicans on the hugely partisan panel will try to push through, and that’s where Littler Mendelson’s leak comes in.

The main measure they have listed will be what might be called the anti-PRO law. Think of everything workers and their allies proposed in the Protection of the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which the House passed twice but fell victim to Republican filibuster threats from the Senate.

Then, in his so-called Employee Rights Act, Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., overturns those ideas. Even Littler Mendelson laughingly calls Allen’s bill “the antithesis of the PRO Act.”

“Among other things, it would add increased protections for secret ballot elections and extend those protections to workers who decide whether a union will go on strike,” analysts from the union-busting organization write. It also includes a provision prohibiting salting.

Allen’s measure would “require union recertification elections when union membership falls below 50 percent” — a regime the Iowa legislature imposed on workers several years ago. There, it turned around: the AFSCME and the Teamsters won more than 90% of the recertification votes.

Allen would also “protect employee privacy,” the company talks about another boss idea: ban companies from giving contact information about workers to the union that qualifies for a recognition election. It also legalizes so-called “merit pay” and exempts Native American tribes and their businesses from federal labor law.

And his legislation “would provide protection against political spending by requiring workers to ‘opt-in’ for any part of their wages to be used by unions to support candidates or political parties.” It doesn’t matter that workers’ political contributions are voluntary, unlike those of middle managers. CEOs force them to support anti-worker politicians – or else.

Last but not least, Allen would “codify the traditional standard of ‘direct and immediate control’ of the joint employer.” This Republican rule leaves workers, especially franchise workers — think McDonald’s — caught trying to figure out who to bargain with and who actually violated labor law: their immediate boss or corporate headquarters.

“It’s time to protect…the union election process from abuse by union bosses. It also provides all employees, independent contractors and workers in the new on-demand economy with the necessary protections so they can focus solely on their work,” says Allen.

The anti-PRO law isn’t the only anti-worker legislation pending on the Republican agenda, says the union-busting firm. Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., would legalize — and expand nationwide — a Republican Trump regime pilot “that allows employers to self-report federal minimum wage and overtime violations as an alternative to disputes. Employers can apply for the program by submitting information from a self-verification that includes calculations of any unpaid minimum wage or overtime.

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division should verify the bosses’ figures. If it accepts the agreement, the DOL “will oversee a settlement with affected employees that provides for the payment of any unpaid wages.” And workers who agree to the settlement could not sue later if the numbers turn out to be wrong.

But with the Republican-led House committee passing anti-labor, anti-union bills and Sanders burying them — unlike what happened in Congress — Labor and the Biden administration will turn to regulations to help workers. Even Littler Mendelson recognized it.

The AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department did the same at its recent board meeting. Its first-look program in 2023 has a strong focus on federal rules.

“The Biden administration is delivering on its promise to invest in infrastructure, create good intermediaries

class jobs and putting workers first,” said TTD President Greg Regan. “Our federation will continue to work with this administration and the new Congress to advance policies that improve wages, benefits and working conditions for the dedicated workers who build, operate and maintain our essential transportation and infrastructure systems. “

The federation’s worker-focused agenda includes federal regulatory reforms to:

  • “Stop recipients of federal passenger rail subsidies from displacing workers.
  • “Fully restore health insurance and unemployment insurance benefits for railway workers.
  • “Associate “Made in America” requirements with all federal infrastructure grants. This is in addition to provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act requiring Davis-Bacon salaries and project labor agreements on such grants.
  • “Resolve current air traffic control and technical operations staffing issues.
  • “Reforming the Joint Venture Approval Process for Airlines.” This would prevent “joint venture” agreements, such as codesharing, which both hurt passengers financially and cost American workers jobs.
  • “Establish a prevailing national wage for marine workers on offshore wind projects.” This is already in place in the first draft, negotiated between a Danish firm and the Biden administration’s commerce department. It’s meant to be a role model for others.

Union leaders also want the DOL to stop U.S. airlines from further abusing visa programs to hire non-U.S. pilots, they told Biden Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a labor union member, who told them. met.

“As the United States undergoes the largest-ever federal investment in transportation and infrastructure workers, these reforms will strengthen domestic manufacturing, alleviate systemic staffing issues that plague commercial flights, and establish a living wage for maritime workers on offshore wind projects as clean energy opportunities. develop. These reforms will also protect the wages and benefits of aviation and railroad workers and ensure that the federal government plays no role in outsourcing American jobs or displacing American workers,” TTD said. .


Marc Gruenberg


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