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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. FitzpatrickTrump's assault on the federal government isn't over Growing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment GOP lawmakers introduce resolution to censure Trump over Capitol riot MORE (Pa.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Woman tased, arrested for trespassing for not wearing mask at Ohio football game China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong MORE (N.J.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoRep. John Katko: Why I became the first Republican lawmaker to support impeachment NY Republican says cybersecurity will be a high priority for Homeland Security panel Upton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents MORE (N.Y.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Five Republicans vote for bill to decriminalize marijuana House passes sweeping reform bill to decriminalize marijuana 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 ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option 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 SandersThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake Cori Bush dismisses concerns of being 'co-opted' by establishment The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day 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.