House approves pro-union labor bill

House approves pro-union labor bill
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The House on Thursday approved legislation aimed to protect workers’ rights to unionize.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) was approved in a 224-193 vote. The bill, said to be one of the most comprehensive labor packages put forth in years, is not expected to move in the Republican Senate.

Republicans Reps. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' This week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill House approves pro-union labor bill MORE (Pa.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight House approves pro-union labor bill Pro-union bill draws 2020 battle lines MORE (N.J.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Tech for Nevada caucuses under scrutiny after Iowa debacle Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (N.Y.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungImpeachment demonstrates dire need for term limits House approves pro-union labor bill House GOP introduces bill to secure voter registration systems against foreign hacking MORE (Alaska), and Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), a former Democrat who switched parties last month, voted for the bill.

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The bill would make it easier for workers to certify unions, change how employers classify workers, prevent workers from being denied rights because of immigration status, eliminate state right-to-work laws and block laws that protect employees from not paying union dues, among other measures.

The legislation was introduced by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure MORE (D-Va.) and had 218 co-sponsors. 

Big Labor lobbied for passage of the bill while business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association and the National Retail Federation lobbied against it.

Top-tier Democratic presidential candidates have largely supported the bill and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (D-Mass.) have included provisions from it in their labor policy plans.

However, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark said in a statement following the vote that the pro-business lobbying group was “disappointed.” 

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“It violates workers’ privacy, takes away private ballots in union organizing elections, imposes California’s restrictive independent contractor test that is already costing people their livelihoods, and threatens workers with the loss of a job if they don’t pay union dues,” she said. “Members of Congress will not get a free pass on this vote just because the PRO Act will not get through the Senate.”

Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political advocacy group backed by Charles Koch, said the bill “would erode the constitutional rights of workers.”

And, the National Retail Federation sent a final letter to the House on Thursday, urging members to vote against the bill.