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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. FitzpatrickBiden visits local Mexican restaurant to highlight relief program Police reform talks ramp up amid pressure from Biden, families The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to country: 'Turning peril into possibility' MORE (Pa.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns House approves bills tightening background checks on guns MORE (N.J.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoBiden administration, Congress unite in effort to tackle ransomware attacks Biden takes quick action on cyber in first 100 days Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation MORE (N.Y.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Does Biden have an ocean policy? McCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election 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 ScottDemocrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act Senators eye rollback of Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act To Build Back Better, Biden must invest in modern apprenticeship system 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 SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers McConnell sidesteps Cheney-Trump drama MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates 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.