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In a move designed to get corporations jazzed up about donating to Republican candidates and not much else, the House of Representatives today passed a bill to weaken the National Labor Relations Board, which is in charge of enforcing the labor laws and remedying instances of unfair labor practices. The bill, which its sponsor, Rep. Tim Scott [R, SC-1], has titled the "Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act," would amend the labor laws so that employers could legally take retaliation against workers trying to form a union by relocating or outsourcing their jobs. The vote was 238-186.

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One effect of the structural unemployment situation we are stuck in is that some employers have begun assuming that people who don't have jobs must be bad workers and, therefore, shouldn't be considered for hiring. Of course, that line of logic doesn't comply with the facts of the situation. Since 2008, millions of people really have lost their jobs "through no fault of their own," and the jobs market as a whole has shrunken. The U.S. economy no longer accomodates the U.S. work force. Hence the stagnation in unemployment.

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The Committee of Veterans' Affairs yesterday voted in favor of reporting legislation to expand collective bargaining rights for health care workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would amend a section of U.S. law that Democrats say the Veterans' Department is misusing to block certain VA health workers from negotiating over basic pay issues, like overtime, weekend pay, and physician incentive pay.

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The Other Vote in the Senate Today

September 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The DISCLOSE Act vote is going to get most of the attention in the Senate today (and for good reason), but there's something else interesting on the calendar as well -- a "resolution of disapproval" regarding a recent rule update from the National Mediation Board that eases the union formation process for airline and train workers.

The resolution is S.J.Res.30, and it may well be the only bill in Senate to be co-sponsored by all 41 members of the Republican caucus.

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Now that Democrats have put the finishing touches on health care reform, they can get back to the truly important work of Congress: bickering with Republicans over Obama appointees. With a two-week Easter recess looming, players in both parties are wondering whether President Obama will use that time to pluck the pro-labor Craig Becker out of Senate confirmation Purgatory and appoint him to the National Labor Relations Board.

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Airport Funding Bill Grounded By Union Issue

March 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

A measure that would provide billions to fund the Federal Aviation Administration and modernize airport infrastructure is being held up over a provision that would allow FedEx workers to unionize as easily as UPS workers.

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Dems, Unions Agree to Scale Back the "Cadillac Tax"

January 14, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The White House, congressional Dems and labor leaders appear to have struck a deal to raise the threshold for which high-cost health care plans will be taxed to pay for health care reform. Unions were aiming to exempt "collectively bargained" plans from the tax altogether.

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In the continuing health care debate the public option remains as the key puzzle piece in the Democrats' health care package. Today, the Senate Finance Committee is debating and voting on amendments to include a public option in their version of health care reform legislation.

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Abandoning Card Check

July 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The New York Times this morning reported that the Democrats are dropping the card-check provision from the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in an attempt to jump-start the stalled bill. While removing card check certainly helps the bill's chances, Republicans are still opposed to the binding arbitration provision that remains.

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Lincoln Will Not Support EFCA

April 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Another key senator has come out against the Employee Free Choice Act, basically sealing its death (in its current form). Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] today announced that she will vote against the bill, and against moving it beyond a Republican filibuster. Senator Lincoln voted in favor of the bill in 2007.

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Opportunity

March 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

If Al Franken is seated in Minnesota, it looks like Senate Democrats will still be one vote short of breaking an inevitable Republican filibuster of the Employee Free Choice Act. There is only one Senate Republican who might possibly side with the Democrats. Sen. Arlen Specter [R, PA] voted for the bill last year, and he's on the fence as to whether or not he'll vote for it again this year. If he does, he'll likely enable the Democrats to get the bill, which would make it easier for workers to...

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Employee Free Choice Act of 2009

March 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Card check, EFCA, whatever you want to cal it, here's the bill as re-introduced into the 111th session of Congress on March 10, 2009:

S. 560 - Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (Senate version)

H.R. 1409 - Employee Free Choice Act of 2009
(House version)

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The Money Behind EFCA

March 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As I'm sure you have heard, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was re-introduced into the 111th session of Congress today. It's expected to be brought to a vote by Congress sometime this summer, and the PR and lobbying leading up to the vote is going to be both dramatic and expensive. OpenSecrets has info on the special-interest money fueling the debate: Sen. Thomas Harkin [D, IA], who introduced the bill in the Senate today, has collected more money from the labor sector than any other...

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EFCA Day

March 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today, Democrats in both the House and Senate will officially introduce organized labor's chief legislative priority - the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - for the 111th Congress. Normally, the introduction of a bill into Congress isn't big news, but the battle over EFCA has been especially epic. The bill would be a huge boost for the formation of new unions, and probably the most significant change to US labor law since the 1950s. By taking away employers' powers to demand a secret ballot elections for union certification after a majority of employees have already signed union authorization cards, EFCA would tip the scales significantly in the union organizers' favor.

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Blue Dogs Waffle on EFCA

February 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) passed the House last session with all but two Democrats voting in favor. Of course, the bill never stood a chance getting through the Senate or being signed into law by Bush. But now that the Senate may actually have the votes and the President in office is an original co-sponsor of the bill, there are some strange grumblings coming from the moderate section of Democrats in the House.

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